What Would You Want In A 5th Edition Grimoire?

I'm sure this has been gone over before but I just happened upon my 4th edition Grimoire and was wondering if Atlas will ever do one for 5th. Most of the 4th edition book has been updated and republished in the various 5th edition books so we'd be looking at an almost completely different animal. One I'm not sure would be that easy to write.

It'd need a fairly broad appeal. I know some of the things I would like but I can think of many things that might ruin it for me. It'd need to be useful but shouldn't completely revamp a bunch of rules so as to be necessary. It also shouldn't be just a reprint of rules published elsewhere in 5th. Also for me 144 pages of spells, spells, magic items and more spells wouldn't work either.

For instance I'd be interested in seeing a section on hermetic apprenticeship. Expanding on finding apprentices, training apprentices, and playing apprentices. That could be cool. But that'd only be a small section of the book. What other things would people want to see?

An expanded section on Familiars with of course , some Familiar Mysteries!

Many of those things could be outside the scope of a book. For instance the Net Wizard's Grimoire or Sub Rosa. Just Commentaries detailing the creation a familiar using RoP:M, with some dos and don'ts would offer more than a +1 to that book's Quality.

When Mysteries came out for 4th, it got a lot more approval than the Grimoire, so in a way, Mysteries is the 5th edition Grimoire. Also, they managed to fit a whole lot of Grimoire stuff into the HoH books: Breakthrough research, debating and agent rules, ghosts, perception magic, a whole bunch of ex misc hedge traditions, etc. I don't see a need to publish a book titled "Wizard's Grimoire." So for me the question is: What kind of book would have more information on apprentices and familiars? And what could you add that would be book worthy?

Personally, I would very much like to see an updated Wizards Grimoire, built along much the same philosophy as the old one. There are so many little rules and clarifications tucked away in odd corners of supplements that, even I had all of them, it would be more trouble then it's worth to dig through so many books to find them all. I would love to see a book that consolidates a lot (not all, but a lot) of the new Virtues and Flaws, clarifications on magic and other additional rules. Add to that some detailed background about the Order in general, apprenticeship, familiars and a solid list of new (and reprinted) spells and I think you would have a great book. It would definately be a "must buy" for me.

Plus just clearer descriptions of things that we keep debating here: what 3-dimensional shapes do wards ward; for Vim spells that affect other Vim spells, does "level" mean the base level or the level after range/duration/target have been added; etc.

I'd like to see many "startup grimoires" from multiple lineage

I see mages as having a core grimoire that represents their taught and notes on their magical traditions. For example, followers of Flambeau could have his base knowledge on the founding of the order of Hermes & the wise words left by their founder & the shift toward one or the other philosophies of the personal lineage of the apprentice in question and the various unfinished / finished breakthroughs of the house favored by his master. You then could have grimoires of mature / old magus that carry on gild ties and such.


More legacy magic of House Diedne.
Even if it uses the same methods as Ancient Magic.

This would seem to be more tied to the interests of the apprentice and master than what House they happen to be from.

For example, a Merinita and a Bonisagus interested in the forest might both know quite similar spells. And the spells such a Merinita knows would be completely different to what another Merinita interested in illusions would have.

Grimoire's based on "interests" rather than Houses would seem a lot more useful.

I think thats something a lot of people might like to see. (myself included) I just think books like that can be a big risk for a game publisher. Many people wont spend hard money on a new book if they feel it's just material they already have. Or if they get the new book first they might not be as motivated to get older books. I guess the trick is finding the right balance of new and old material.

Maybe a "Print on Demand" sort of thing , rather than a large print run that may not sell.
Buy direct from Atlas , or even just e-23 from Steve Jackson Games.

You still need to recover the costs of authors, editors, layout, playtesters, art, etc. So, there is still a certain non-trivial amount that need to sell to break-even.

I am also under-whelmed by the quality of "Print on Demand" products. Although, I am largely thinking of my experiences of textbooks produced in this way rather than gaming products.

Certainly a legimate concern, particular since I will freely admit that my desire to buy such a product is partly rooted in my total lack of desire to be buy certain older books. However, I do think that a good balance can be struck. I find the old Wizards Grim to be a very good balance of new and old material. Of course, I have no idea how successful it was from the publishers point of view.

One of the biggest things I would find useful is a consolidated list of base effects for each art combination, along with at least one example spell per base.
Extended discussion on things like wards and the like, with concise rulings on how circle targets work, etc.

A very clear and easy-to-read 'build a spell' rules set - with some handy tables showing the different ranges, how many magnitudes they add, etc. Include in this magnitude-boosting guide anything that is specific to certain forms (e.g. terram).

Consolidated lists of ranges, durations and targets. Better rules for things like size-changing spells and how to work out just how much the size changes by (I worked this out myself, but only by inference).

There's a lot of general magic rules that could do with a nice, concise, easy-to-read set of rules for both the new player and the old player alike. As long as such a tome included a combination of clarifications and a few new Hermetic things I think it'd be a worthwhile tome. I know more than a few people in my group would buy it - and these are people who already have all the HoH and RoP books.

A single reference point for Hermetic magic would be nice. Its all well and good having house-specific stuff in the house books, but part of the problem is many of the house books contain stuff that isn't house-specific. The Jerbiton chapter has a big block on imaginem that isn't Jerbiton-specific, the Merinita chapter has a section on house mysteries that are labelled 'Not For Merinita!', the Flambeau chapter has a very good chapter on general use of magic in combat. You need a score of at least 2 in 'Ars Magica Book Lore' to even know where to find half the rules - I personally think a consolidated Hermetic Magic book like this would make an excellent companion to the core rulebook for new groups without treading on the toes of the other books out there.

I'd also include a chapter on 'how to do certain things with Hermetic magic.' A chapter on how to make an effective necromancer with some good spell suggestions, on how to make an effective fireball-slinger with notes on which skills are important and why, etc. Ars Magica is a complex game, and one thing it really lacks is something to help new players get into the game comfortably. Such a chapter could also include some notes on spell combinations and long-term thinking : things you can do with summoning storms, making crops grow, causing a person to decide to wear green each time they wake up in the morning.

The idea isn't to replace the imagination but to give it a boost. The most dangerous thing you can give a new player is a blank slate - most people get intimidated and back off.

Throw in a couple of adventure hooks and ideas related to certain spells in the sidebars and you've got a winner.

If you use a patronage model which requires a certain threshold to be reached prior to working on the text, then you're covered. It's a fairly proven method for getting a project done. I've just finished one myself, here. It's similar to a pre-order model, but involves the patrons more.


Another subject I would love to see hit on in some supplement. (And I think could fit well in a new Grimiore.) Is Hermetic Economics just how much is a really good Tractatus worth or hey how much can I charge for this old wand of carpentry now that we've made a better one for the covenant. I know a lot of the answers to those questions would be pretty covenant specific but a good write up would help point out what choices would have what effects as well as open up a whole new line of potential stories.

Indecently I was already debating posting this idea when I saw this [url]https://forum.atlas-games.com/t/mercere-market-how-do-you-decide-whats-on-offer/5815/1] thread but it helped make up my mind.

Maine, those are really linked to your saga rules and vis level...

This actually highlights one thing that irks me about too many of the Ars Magica books: there's an assumption made that its 'whatever works for you' - and then presenting the big, blank slate. Its also wrong. :slight_smile:

The rest of this post assumes your game is using RAW for things like vis costs, lab rules, xp gains and the like. If you aren't then sure, it depends on your saga. But then again, if you aren't then you can hardly claim to be representing the game as published and shouldn't be surprised if a current or future rulebook contracts your saga.

For magic item costs it definitely isn't linked to covenant vis income. Making magic items has a fixed cost in vis. You can expect a mostly fixed markup on that fixed price (100% is a good guideline). So if a magic item is invested with a lvl 20 enchantment, it costs 2pawns of vis to make - and this doesn't change regardless of your saga vis income.

Even non-magical products of a magi's time have a vis value that are relatively static and independent from the vis income of a covenant. A magus' time is typically valued at how much vis they can extract in one season of lab work doing vis extraction. Aura isn't going to be a significant factor (each +1 is 0.1 pawns), and the only anomalies to this are going to be magi with vis-extraction magical foci or very high Creo/Vim/magic theory scores.

The latter are restrained by a diminishing returns system on xp investment, and xp investment has its baseline set by the '4-5xp for a season of practice' rule. This all feeds back into the vis-extraction formula, which in turn dictates the value of a season of work by a magus as expressed in pawns of vis. If it takes a senior magus 3 seasons to write a summa, that summa is going to be valued at his seasonal vis income x3 - and for a magus who isn't a specialist and who is ~30 years out of gauntlet, that'll most likely be around 15-18 pawns.

This is totally independent of how much the value of a pawn is in your saga. But then, even the value of a pawn is dictated because it isn't the base currency, its a currency backed by the real item of value for magi: a season.

Providing some baseline data removes some of the 'big blank page' intimidation that this game has. It doesn't cause anyone's existing sagas to break, except maybe letting the SG know 'hey, your game is low-vis' or 'wow, your game is high-vis'. Especially since the 'big blank page' isn't actually as blank as we like to pretend. Personally, the above is exactly the kind of thing I'd like to see in a book like a 5th edition Grimoire.

I have to agree with this-- the season, and what a magus can do with that season, is the measure of a service or item's value and that value is on a sliding scale. In addition to the provider's capability, there's the provider's reputation to consider because it will impact the value, too. Magi only have so many seasons before death or Twilight, and they're going to be particular about what they trade that limited coin for. I've found that when you present it more like that ("Is this project worth one of my seasons? What else could I be doing?") then it makes sense that someone would be very discerning, that a magus would put an additional cost to the project, because it takes away from his most limited resource-- time.


  1. But then you have eternal magi which destroy the economic system since they don't care about seasons...
  2. you are thinking about straigth season. it's unrealistic in some case. Magus A writes in 2 seasons a summa. He asks his scribe to do 14 copies. He sells each copies. Which his the price for that copy? The full price?

I have tried to answers that for my saga, and it gave me a "metric system" of Trade points and trade scores, but only for covenant to covenant exchanges. I was thinking of submitting it to sub rosa, but this is a excel sheet with so much things and the explanation file does 15 words pages, so i gave up.