"The First Rule of Bellum Guild is..."

When I purchased Apprentices, I noticed that it included a game playd by Junior-wizards. I was expecting something like quidrich from Harry Potter, but was pleasantly surprised to find it more reminiscent of "Fight Club."

For fans of the cheesy anachronism, I present "Bellum Guild":


Edit: I've updated the doc to address Xavi's concerns about retribution outside the guild matches.


You forgot "what happens at bellum guild remains at bellum guild". No hard feelings to be carried over to mundane (and hermetic) life.


Hmm. Honestly, I was cribbing straight from a "fight club" movie fan page's list of the rules. Perhaps that is implicitly covered by the "nobody talks" rule. Retribution outside the guild matches might bring outside interest, such as nosy stodgy old quasitors.

Good one... +1
Human fat have vis corpus? XD

Now I have a vision of london in flames while hearing "where is my Mentem..."

LOL. Tylerius ' reason for creating "Bellum Guild" is as yet unknown. I've shared the doc with my players, but the notion hasn't entered the saga yet.

Next session will focus primarily on events at the regional tribunal. In addition to providing an overview of events and allowing the troupe to influence a few tribunal cases, I plan on giving each player a short "vignette" involving one of their magus' story flaws.

One player is an inventive lab-rat Boni from Duremar, 2 years out of gauntlet, who was fostered in stonehenge, currently residing at Semita Errrabunda, which will be playing host to the tribunal as a secure location in a regio, after plans to hold it in a more open location at another covenant were disrupted by ongoing events in the Anti-Cathar crusades.

His foster-sister will be making an appearance at tribunal. She was more physically active and adventurous, and tried to draw him into bellum, but failed. Now she needs his help in a 2-on-2 match against some tough opponents. At stake is his Foster-Parens' honor, as these opponents' Parens called into question the Foster-Parens' mastery of the arts and teaching skill.

May I suggest an alternative to bellum? Bellum is already more interesting than certamen by a large stretch (you can use any spell), but still limited somewhat.

I prefer our version of this, that is basically what we use for certamen. You can only use up to level 5 spells, and each damage level equals a fatigue level lost. Playing area is one hige circle thaat you cannot leave. Makes for a much more tactical engagemernt that plain die rolling and is more open ended in what you can do.

I like the turn limit for the fights.


In my Saga, two covenants have a strong rivalry dubbed "War of Fools" or the "Wierding War." It was started at an inter-covenant dinner that has since become tradition. The apprentices began the tradition and, since they have now gauntleted, continue it and induct their apprentices into it. Essentially, it's a competition for the best pranks between the two covenants. There are seasonal "outings" with the members of the two covenants to provide opportunities for the mischief.

A Quaesitor investigation resulted in the exasperation and eventual retirement of the presiding Quaesitor to Magvillus and the establishment of an "opt-in" agreement. Participants agree to forgive scrying, castings and other mischief in pursuit of the competition. Now all signatories to the agreement may have at it at will :smiley:

Sounds like fun but also like something that could be horribly abused

Sounds interesting. This being my first ArM5 saga, I'm largely sticking with RAW. I've seen lots of interesting house rules proposals, but decided it was best if my troupe first experienced the game as designed before we started monkeying with it. There are several things we all hated at first but are beginning to appreciate.

The 5 round limit to the bellum match is just standard "apprentices" rules.

Ars Magica does that. The interplay of the various rules is quite complex, and its only when you start to see/feel all the moving pieces that you begin to appreciate the whole system.

I'm a big fan of RAW Certamen for Certamen, but I'm also a big fan of that not being the only way magi resolve disputes.

We've got an interesting one in the saga I play in: every two years our covenant and a rival covenant elect champions to fight over vis rights. The champions declare Wizard's War on one another, and on a single agreed-upon day they meet and determine superiority, with a gentleman's agreement to try not to actually kill the opposing magi.

The only thing that has so far stopped this from devolving into complete chaos is each side's knowledge that breaking the spirit of the agreement will open them up to abuse in kind. The agreement was created precisely to stop the two covenants just going full-out Wizard's War on each other - something that would be rather detrimental to the Tribunal given that each covenant has a fair amount of Tribunal pull, so an all-out conflict would rapidly escalate.

Since this conflict is under Wizard's War, there is no Code violation happening. Any grogs, familiars, apprentices, etc. you show up with are your 'ante' - if you don't want to risk them, don't bring them.

I could well envision a 'Fight Club' working on a similar structure. Starting out as Bellum matches would make sense, but it is easy to see how it could easily evolve(devolve?) into something where the actual Bellum spell never gets used.

See now THAT'S the stuff I like to hear about. I love the words of the Founders that the only thing they could hope for was a barbarian law! But it's absolutely true that the Code is loose enough to allow all sorts of gimmickry inside of its jurisdiction. I don't like the formality that assumes a civilized legal system, the Code is meant to control only very specific excesses of very particular behaviors. You can loot graves, raise the dead, bind enemies into small balls of twine... but don't do this. Magi are medieval people with a skewed version of reality (as we know it, for obvious reasons) and so the different outcomes available to them under the Code are pretty interesting to think about and explore.