Three books lacking to ArM ?

Hello all,

On word about me as it is my first post. I've been practicing RPG since the publication of D&D in French in the early 80 (Ah nostalgy ...). I've played long time custom D&D campaigns with a tremendous group of friends and tried by myself lots of other games : CoC, Runequest, Kult and ArM to name a few.

Two years ago I discovered the 5th edition of Ar avalaible M and I was amazed by the quality of the work done : I bought all the books ! Without going into details that, I supposed, have been discussed at length in previous posts, let me say the most impressive thing was the effort made toward coherence. We have now consistant spell guidelines, spell level building mechanism, equilibrated rules with no contradiction (except perhaps some details), etc.

It is all the more so impressive as lots of new things have been added, such as the realms of power or the cosmology in A&A which have been thoroughly described. In my opinion, it is was what it was lacking to previous edition and now I can say the ArM5 rules have the formal beauty of a cistercian abbaye :wink: Keep the good work going on.

Nevertheless, I think three subjects have not been adressed. What about these ideas :

1) A dictionnary of the rules
In a typical book the rules are merged with historical background, story seeds or philosophical explanations. And there are lots of books. Absolutely no problem with that but it would be interesting to have a kind of dictionnary or compendium in which all the rules and only the rules are summerized. It would be very useful during game session in order to go quickly to a some formula without having to look for it in the description of the Forest spirit in the Rhine Tribunal. Something between the Parma Fabula ad the whole set of game rules.

2) A grand campaign
There are so much interesting vices, virtues, abilities, powers, mythic companions, traditions, ... in the books. I dream of a large scale campaign with a grand scenario concerning all the Mythic europe and using the maximum of the rules potentiality and diversity. Something like an infernal plot about the corruption of one or several kingdoms with implication of the church and the Order and also impacting in some ways Faeries. The plot would remainded hidden and would only reveal itself by small pieces, except in the second part of the campaign where the character would be able to understand it fully and to act to stop it. There could be city adventures, political intrigue, archeological researchs, wilderness explorations, needed lab works and (why not?) some dongeon explorations. To sum up : the masks of Nyarlathotep for ArM...

3) A high fantasy guide
ArM is the best magic system right ? Why limit it only to Mythic Europe ? Ok, because rules and background are highly tied and because they have deeply inspired each other. But it is no completely true : as far as i kwnow hermetic magic is an invention that have never existed as such in the mythic perception of the medevial Europe. I thing it would be the more diffcult of the books : keeping rules coherent and equilibriated and keeping ArM flavor while going toward high fantasy is not easy. I don't want another D&D, I'd like a high fantasy ArM. It could contains advices about :

  • the status of the Divine realm if there are more than one god
  • power balanced aura interactions
  • alterations of the code allowing strong political implication of the Order
  • rôle and place of faerie realms
  • possible variations on the cosmological settings
  • adaptations of the historical roots of the magic settings (Cult of Mercury, Langage of Adam, etc.)
  • etc.

It is just some ideas.
Sorry for my "french" english. Any comments highly appreciated.

  1. Not quite what you need, but some work has been done towards such an index in the Great Apocrypha Collection.

Needs to be updated and consolidated, though. Now that there are Ars wikis out there...

  1. Well, you got plenty of strands to weave a campaign from as there are a number of published adventures for previous editions and the books in general are chock-full with story seeds. If you want adventures that span significant portions of Mythic Europe, have a look at the Land of Fire and Ice saga. Deadly Legacy also involves significant travel, as do

But it's true that there isn't a fully worked out campaign. One reason probably is that it would be of rather limited usefulness if you are running your own saga. Smaller story seeds are much easier to integrate.

  1. Last time I went to Jeux Descartes Messonier (métro Wagram), they did stock a book about how a medieval world is affected by all those factors. It's relatively system-independent (although you can feel some of the D&D bend). I can't remember the title, but last I saw it, they had it stocked in the Ars Magica bin (go figure).

Again, not really what you're looking for, but shrug.

Hi there hamilcar!

This would be a rather large publication, and since the speific rules will be detailed it can only be one made by Atlas (not a fan site like a wiki, nor an index like the Apocrypha thread). I just don't think there is a need for this product, frankly - I'd like to know where the rules are, but I don't generally find the flavor text to seriously distract me from quickly finding what the rules are (once I know where to find them).

The HermesWeb wiki attempts to provide an index of all rules, as well as all other ArM content - or at least, allow you to search the wiki for where the content is written at. Not quite what you're looking for, though.

A document I think is sorely lacking is a Compiled Spell Guidelines, collecting all spell guidelines from all sources. I envision it as published solely as a PDF, and being updated shortly after a new product is published to include the latest additions. A compilation of the spell-guidelines, which are used by any magus for spontanous spells in-game, I think is a very useful thing to have; I have made my own, and use it regularly.

I'm with you there. While Fruny is correct in that it won't be useful for most SGs, I think I'd like just reading a well-made grand campaign. I've once attempted to create such a campaign as a fan-project, but it fell through. My idea on it*, BTW, is to have a world-shattering campaign, a campaign that will change the way wizards interact with the mundane world - which is not something I reckon to be too appealing for others.

At any rate I think everyone - including Atlas - would agree that more adventures for ArM5 would be a really good idea. Unfortunately, they don't sell - apparently. If you feel you can and want to write an adventure, I suggest you write up a suggestion to the Sub Rosa magazine.

I would like to read such a book. I think I'd mostly appreciate a specific setting, though - not just vague guideliens. If I'd be creating such a book, I'd probably create one based on syncretism and wild exagerration and anachronism - I'll found it on a mythology combining all mythologies (probably based on the Roman syncretism, with elements of Egyptian, Mesopotemian, an Nordic origin), have the god's realms and other worlds fairly easily accessible, and populate the land with lots of powerful clerics, wizards, and magical creatures of all sorts. In this way I could still draw on ancient lore, but focusing more on myth and cool ideas and throwing any trace of historical versimilitude to the winds.

  • My latest idea for a "grand campaign" involved an Infernal Pope leading a (German) Crusade against the pagan Wends, with the intent to make the PCs either support an early Reformation (more amicable to magi) or support a resurgence of paganism (ieither a Faerie, Magical, or syncretic one). So the culmination of such a campaign would be the defeat (and partial conquest or conversion?) of the Holy Roman Empire, and a change to the Code (or at least its interpretation). Big.

I also like the "Unite the Forest Spirit" campaign hinted at in Guardians of the Forest. Another big one.

For #3:

You want Magical Medieval Society by Expeditious Retreat Press. First edition is out of print, I believe, but the second edition with expanded material is either out, or due out soon.

It's a fantastic book, and I also recommend their book on the Silk Road.


Unless I am mistaken, that's the book I saw at my FLGS. They had it on the recent arrival display when I was haunting them waiting for RoP:Magic to come out.

While I absolutely love Magical Medieval Society (Western Europe; not so much the rest of the line), I don't think it's too applicable as a high-fantasy guide to Ars Magica. MMS is a book about how to infuse some medieval lore into the high-fantasy game of D&D, not about how to infuse some high fantasy into the highly-medieval game of Ars Magica. If you look into the list of topics hamilcar91 gave for this book, for example, you'll see MMS hardly touches on them.

The apocrypha is great indeed and it would be a good starting point for 1) book. If we drop the book idea I think it would be a rather useful pdf, even more if non hermetic rules were added.

Very cool. I was thinking on my side to add some steampunk inspired stuff like cavorite (H.G. Wells imaginary material which shield gravitation and thus is able to lift heavy objects, even up to the moon). In ArM where gravitation doesn't exist and objects move in respect to their essential nature, it must be something related to the lightest element : the ether of the celestial spheres. Why not the following : suppose ether particules were traped in some kind of minerals in the early steps on the Creation when spheres limits were not yet well defined. This mineral, which should be very rare, could then be mined, extracted and purified in a form of Terram-Ether compound, let's call it etherium. Once refined or maybe enriched (with then a notion of critical size) this material wants at once to return to its home : the upper sphere. Some sort of equilibirum could be achieved to levivate masses and son on. The impact on the society would be the emergence of a Guild of engineers knowing and keeping jealously the secret of the etherium and able to do some incredible works in building (etherium sustained palaces, ...), industry or transport (flying boats, ...). They would be a good counterweight to OoH or even challenging opponents. Lots of opportunities. We can fine tunes the power of such a guild only by setting the rareness and the price of the etherium to the right point.

Sounds good. I'd like to know more if you have pushed you ideas forward.

I managed to get the 2nd ed pdf. It is interesting even if YR7 is right saying it doesn'nt exactly adress the high fantasy point. By the way I've also read the related book Magical Society : Ecology and culture. There are very interesting and pedagogical stuff there. For example, the chapter on meteorology is really enlightning (but this no more ArM, this is real fluid dynamic on rotating planet).

Thanks all for your answers.

I have started the saga online, but was forced to cancel it due to having too few players. I hope to restart it one day.

Just FYI, there are other books in the series, I think Silk Road.

Another FYI - I've recently come across a campaign set in ancient Rome, changed to be high-fantasy for D&D. While not quite ArM, it could very easily be converted to ArM in my opinion, and is interesting in how it changes the setting to fit high-fantasy:

  • The campaign centers around the idea that the gods are always punished for their patricide - Chronus killed his father Uranus, and was then killed by his son Zeus, who is now corrupted by this bad karma and is about to be killed by Athena. But Athena, being wise, seeks to avoid this ordained Fate, as she knows this will taint her too with patricide and lead to her own demise; the campaign is hence ultimately about Athena using the PCs to kill Zeus....
  • In the primordial times, the Titans ruled the land - giants in Europe, and two dragons (Tiamat and Apep) in Mesopotamia and Egypt. The Olympian Gods then waged war on reality with the help of the Faerie Folk, while the Titans drew on the Infernal for aid. Hence, the races...
  • The people of Hibernia (Irish) and the noble Egyptians are faeries, Sidhe and such. Hibernia is Arcadia.
  • The Celts are faerie-blooded, having been influenced by the faeries and absorbing their Druidic religion.
  • The Mesopotamian and Semitic people are dwarves. This is D&Dism, but the idea of having different cultures and races as being different races is relevant.
  • The Germanic people are orcs.
  • The eastern barbarians (Huns and so on) are Goblinoids.
  • The original races of Egypt are draconic - Dragonborn, Lizarfolk, Kobolds, and so on. They are now mostly scattered, barbarians driven from their ancestral lands by the invading fearies.
  • Rome is heavily corrupted, as is Zeus. Infernal machinations and immortal emperors lurking in shadows, corrupt and ineffective government, the legions have many orc barbarians in their midst, and so on. Many of the nobility are tainted with demonic blood, and the nobility openly summons and works with demons.
  • The campaign is centered on the PCs working to further stability and good, discovering the deep Infernal corruption and especially the undead emperors working behind the scenes, and finally confronting them. After defeating them, the God's armies start to move and the PCs are recruited for the direct fight, against Zeus and the old Olympians serving him (fighting for Athena against the corrupt Zeus, who was behind Rome's corruption).

I may well be alone in this, but I'd like to see a book on Grogs. A colelction of sample grogs, grog-only stories, advice on grogs in sagas and maybe some new virtues and flaws for customising grogs.

maybe even some means of making some sort of 'favoured grog'. An in game development of trusted characters to given them some minor story hooks in exchange for some interesting new virtues.

for example young Ywain suddenly finds out that he's not just the stable boy, but he's destined to become a great warrior.... and thus a story begins.