What would you change in a 6th edition?

No editing physics? Doesn't anyone remember the cold fusion patch?

I think a step towards streamlining combat could be not rolling defense - just take a 5 for an assumed roll. if you feel you need to do better, you can spend your action to roll for more if you really need. The less things needing to be rolled, the faster things go.
For monster-manual type things, I'd enjoy seeing a grimoire of mundanes too - typical bandit has these stats... these abiliities... and this many unspent abilities to customize. hey, he has music now! That one used to be a fisherman!

You should probably take a 6 instead of a 5. A simple die averages 5.5.

They recalled it, years ago actually. turned out that it was buggy.

Can I just point out that vector algebra is tricky, quantum field theory is hard.
Dividing a number (smaller than 100) by 2 is not hard, and should not be considered to hard by adult (or even adolescent individuals. If it is, it's time to improve the educational system.

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I am missing quite a few because the new search here does not work very well, but some threads relevant to AM5.x:

division: Another bunch of rules variants
parma: Variant Rule: Improved Parma
gurps am: Ars Magica needs a fatiguing mechanic for magi
some essentials: Game: Simple but Huge (House Rules)

But... for AM6, I'm less interested in the kind of rules variants I've posted here because I think the more important changes are more fundamental, especially after seeing Erik's character advancement threads, eg Ranulf from MoH now 150 years post apprentice!!!!



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Unless the numbers are 0 to 9, which turns into 4.5, right? Though at that point the simple vs stress debate... hmm..I am used to D&D's half-round-down I suppose.

As far as doubling vs halving, the question at my table is always when to double, people do it all before rolling because it's easier to brain that way.

For folks looking for cinematic rules, I'm a huge fan of Torchbearer for conflict resolution. Very different fantasy feel with the themes of the game, but for those unfamiliar, I can't recommend it enough. There's a special combination of looseness and nuance that is really awesome.

For exploding dice ranging from 0 to 9, the expected value is exactly 5. With the doubling mechanic everything is wonkier and it's 4.4+5.5/4 if I did the math right.

silveroak's estimate is better. Simple dice are already at 5.5. Botch dice aren't really 0-9. They're 0 and then 2-9, and then 2 x (2 through 10), and then 4 x (2 through 10), etc. I'm trying to remember, and I vaguely recall 5.75 or so for stress dice, assuming no botch (0, included, but no botch).

if the die explodes there is no way you should simply substitute a number, it is kind of the polar opposite effect, however the average of a stress die is just over 4.51 as the die will explode 1 time in 10. Considering that is a range of numbers from 0(or botch!) to well over 4000 I don't think an average is a good representation of the effect. However if we are talking about simplifying combat by changing the rules I think a 6 is a better stand in than a 5 simply because you want players to feel they have gained a small amount by sacrificing the ability to roll.

Different people have different math skills depending on what sort of math the encounter in daily life and how often. As for myself, the only time I deal with math is gaming and paying bills. The extent of my formal education in the subject is intro to algebra, back in 1985. I taught myself math by gaming. I do subtraction in reverse, left to right, because I can estimate the answer in my head much faster that way.
It isn't about the difficulty of math though. It is about the number of steps. Without division, I can add two numbers and look at a char in mere seconds. With division, that is another step (a 50% increase in effort, multiplied through the session). I gotta keep a new number in my head, look at the chart, wonder if I did the math right, people are laughing and having fun (it is a game after all), it just disrupts the flow of a live session.
For the same reason, I am against the multiplication idea. I thought about that. I write house rules as a hobby. Though I went at it a different way and your idea is better than mine. I was thinking you would have to have a casting total of twice the level for a spont, and as normal for Formulaics. Then I started crunching variables and math and Penetration, and it comes out ozzy at very low and very high levels. You may want to check the math yourself on that. Because, you know, American schools :slight_smile:
Doubling the Casting Total instead may work better, but there are still many variables to consider without rewriting the system. Which can be done. But it is still another step, another chance to get distracted. Chaos is a constant.
And as I typed all this, I just had another one of my trademark brilliant spontaneous ideas.
No difference in power level. Make the same roll for Fatiguing Sponts and Formulaic spells. Power output and Penetration works out the same. But change what it fundamentally means for a spell to be a Formulaic spell. Save the Lab for Enchantments. You learn Formulaics like Abilities. I mean jump straight to Mastery (just don't call it that). If your Art scores are high enough, you can spend xp in an Ability for that spell (Mastery with another name).

I need to unpack the idea and work it out step by step. But the idea is that all spells are just spells. They are all spontaneous formulas.You can hone your methods with a spontaneous formula, reading a book or adventuring, In CharGen, instead of 120 levels, take that many xp in Spell Abilities.

I am fully aware of these differences, and was fully aware of my arrogance in the quoted post.
And I stand by my comment about it being time to improve the educational system :wink:

Doesn't this already exist? I believe it's called "Mage the Awakening".

I would tend to agree, though I think we would be OK for defense because the attack could botch (somewhat like an exploding defense roll) or the attack could explode (somewhat like a botched defense roll).

Actually, my memory was correct. Barring botches (which really cannot be calculated in this), the mean is exactly 5.75, even closer to your 6 than 5.5 is. I can write out the math if people really want to see it.

I would agree. I would add that making combat a fraction of a point less deadly is unlikely to go over poorly.

Ah, found my excel coding error, I was dividing the exploding dice by 10 1 extra time.

I'm old-school. I did it via mathematical proof with pen and paper, complete with sigma notation and all.


... which is how it should be done :slight_smile:

For me what I would like in a 6th Edition is this:

  • Reduction in combat complexity as Ars Magica is not a combat simulation game.

  • Expansion of the magic system so that some of the holes that are there right now aren't really there anymore. (An example for me is spatial manipulation magic, I like such things and would want it there.) Related to this is modifying (or outright removing) some of the Laws of Magic that exist in the game.

  • I would remove the whole social penalty of the Gift as far as it applies to those who have opened the Arts to the Hermetic Order. This way something like a School of Magic could be done with no "students erupt in crazy and the place burns down"

  • I would reduce Warping to only being applied when magic catastrophically fails. Nothing else would lead to it. (To me a being with Magic gifted on their soul should be capable of having magical effects wrapped around them permanently with nothing bad happening.)

  • I would downplay both the Divine and Infernal realms, this is a game about Magic and I think that is what should get a focus not on the power of the Divine or Infernal to smite everything with no issue. Same thing I would remove the Law of the Infernal and say Magic works against the Infernal.

  • On a lore front I would reduce the whole limitation on Hermetic Magi as Court Wizards as I think allowing that opens up a fun area for playing.

  • I like Mythic Europe, I like the complexity of the setting and the nature of the world and so wouldn't change that. I like the idea of Virtues and Abilities and Attributes. I LOVE the Form + Technique for magic use and the idea of Magnitudes to represent capability. I LOVE how Hermetic Magic is the all around best while lesser traditions might be strong in particular areas but not everything, it makes the game about the Order, and that is good to me.

Honestly, I really love the current edition and it ending was a very sad thing. Especially as there was still no loss of interest, if they had written more books I would have bought more books. Because every single one of them is amazing.


I have never played that game. I have read positive reviews of the mechanics, but the setting seems a little strange. Anyways, whatever those rules are, here it would work much differently and not involve their fluff.
Let me approach it like this. Keep the mechanic for learning/inventing spells the same as it is now. Put Arts on the same scale as Abilities. Change the mechanic for Spontaneous spells to work more like Formula spells. Grant every mage a variation of Flawless Magic (you start with a score of one for free, but still pay full price in xp to improve it).
I also favor adding Latin and/or Requisites to the total, but that is another matter.
The germ of the idea I present here simplifies the game in two ways while retaining all of the flavor. Putting Arts & Abilities on the same scale, plus the revised Spontaneous magic, these make it easier for newcomers to get on board and get into the game. Save the complexity for later. Hence, Formulaic spells treated as Masted Abilities. If you ditch the Lab step, then at a base cost of 5xp each, it is possible to learn a lot of them (two or three per season), it is feasible to ignore them if you want, and there is incentive to learn & focus on them if you want.

I'm fairly certain that it's a good thing for limitations to exist. Just as I'm really a fan of different magical traditions having different strengths and weaknesses.

That particular bit exists (and has been heavily emphasized in the 5th edition) in order to make the niche for the "social grog/companion" more visible (TtBoMK). If you mainly play Hermetic Politics or similar, it becomes less relevant.

Sounds like a fun saga. But I'd just as happily play it with the Augustan Brotherhood (Rival Magic) or Learned Magicians (HMRE).