Which Edition is your favorite?

Which edition of Ars Magica is your favoritre one?

  • 1st
  • 2nd
  • 3rd
  • 4th
  • 5th

0 voters

Poll inspired by Berklist discussion.

Feel free to elaborate :slight_smile:

Voted 5th, though 3rd is a close second. As always, White Wolf is disorganized but stylish.

For me third had great art, second had simple elegance, fourth had some very solid history and a broad spanning bouquet of rulebooks, first edition had that 1rst ed. D&D wide open craziness..

Fifth has rules that work significantly better, a setting that's gobs more consistent, an even broader quantity of published material that I prefer to other editions, and themes that focus on epic adventure and ancient mystery quite a bit better than any previous edition.

I'd like to have third editions art again but, apart from that, I pretty much prefer fifth edition in every substantial way (I'd imagine that I'd find minor things that I prefer about each edition).

Since I have only been around for 5th edition, that has to be my favorite. :smiley:
I'm tainting the vote with ignorance!

I prefered the wide-open enthusiasm of the 2nd Ed setting (you can do nearly anything! the Houses are damned cool! Play with their weird politics!) but 5th Ed has cleaner rules and really good supplements. The rules for 4th Ed were arcane and unintuitive, and the proliferation of people better at hermetic magic than the Order of Hermes irritated. 3rd Ed ... had ToH:Iberia and the damned Realm of Reason. The books could have been printed on platinum and not made up for that.

4th was good, but the rules were hard to follow, had to pick up books a lot in game to figure things out. 5th is much more streamlined and elegant. So 5th it is.

5th is best overall. But i certainly agree that 2nd edition has a sometimes lovely and missed simplicity about it and 3rd edition has some very nice art, and something i REALLY miss in 5th, it has some way better maps and a proper "Mythic Europe" chapter that actually gives you some good background and MAPS directly from the core!

Like the "Trade routes..." map, thats a great starter for some types of stories.
And more importantly still, maps where "canon" covenants are actually included, so you can have them "properly placed" or not as you wish rather than having to guess about it if you want to know.
3rd editions "Reason Realm" was a horrible suicide attempt however.

Good maps for 5th is something i still want. It also doesnt look very pretty with the current core book map, where the Tribunal insert obviously covers parts of the map that is supposed to be visible, cutting out Kiev for example as well as reducing the amount of information rather too much and yet being content with just that single simple overview map rather than 3rds more detailed map AND another 2 sets of maps...

Absolutely nothing to add to Erik's points - except that I second every bit of it.


I played fourth and fifth, and I prefer fifth, it seems a lot smoother, and the rules are far clearer. A friend of mine described fourth as follows "Ars Magica is an accountancy system written by historics" and I really cannot disagree with him, There is a lot to be found, but some things use bizarre luck (study from vim rules) that do not clarify everything (like what happens with excess points), or just plain hard to find or misplaced. I also like the background from the houses better now, although they seem too balanced. All houses seem to have mixed in a little bit of nice and a little bit of nasty, which seems a bit off.

Second Edition - the One True Edition forever!

I just miss the simplicity of having all the rules you need between one set of covers. It stuck to the essentials and would seem very minimalistic compared to 5th or even 3rd Ed.: it basically said, "we can't possibly cover everything so we won't try; here are the basics, start playing and make up the rest as you go." But really I'm not that interested in anything beyond those basics; Mysteries, elaborate hedgie mechanics, 3 different kinds of books or 1001 things you can do in the lab are just distract from my main interest, which is the collaborative story.

Basically that's just it: in 2nd Edition the rules didn't get in the way of the story. (Mainly because there weren't enough rules to do that.)

Mechanics wise there were some significant flaws (lack of spell guidelines, silly magic resistance mechanics compared to 5th) and I won't downplay those. I am not sure I would want to go back to 2nd exactly as it was -- but it's still my favorite. You could teach someone how to play in about 30 minutes. Try that with 5th Edition!

OK, whomever voted 4th - WHY???

I like 5th best too. I do find that I liked 3rd's simpler magic rules to some extent, they made it easier to just play by winging it. And I liked its Art far more, and it had some pretty strong style (although some of it problematic...).

5th is definitely superior overall, though.

Yes, it's 5th for me. I loved 2nd edition, with its combination of ingenuity and simplicity, and while I got along ok with 3rd the best thing about it was the presentation. The Realm of Reason, demons everywhere and the blatant attempts to tie ArM into Storyteller were pretty tedious. 4th had the nice cover and got rid of the rubbish that WW had brought in, but otherwise it was pretty dry and statistical. 5th edition has sorted out the things that didn't really work, and some of the new ideas like spell mastery abilities make ArM much more fun to play. The covenant creation system is also the best they've achieved so far.

Hoo boy!

I like 2ed for the way the rules elegantly modeled the descriptions, but the setting felt grittier, with more of a Dark Ages medieval feel than a High Middle Ages medieval feel, even for magi. 3 pawn/year for a longevity potion, Arts scores that grew past 20 only with real difficulty, no more than 7 v/f, characteristics that averaged 0, and so on.

I like 3ed for the way the main rulebook had lots of material. The material wasn't always organized or balanced, but they covered everything, even useful rules for creating covenants, the best in any edition. This edition felt wide open, bringing more myth to ME.

I didn't like 4ed.

I like 5ed for the consistency, and the way the supplements hang together more or less coherently. These rules may be less elegant than 2ed, but are simply better (and elegance shows up in some places, like Warping). A lot of work went into this, and it shows. This is the one I'd use, were I to run a game.



That was the 1000th post by our new sovereign regnant

That was me. 4th edition is when I first came to the game. It's like Doctor Who. I think David Tennant is the best Doctor ever, and all due respect to Tom Baker, but Jon Pertwee is my favorite because he was my first.

Looking at the line as a whole, 4th edition was the edition of great evolution. It gave us the Mysteries, the vast majority of the Tribunals, was a signifigant step in the improvement of the magic system, and personally I feal that it was better organized. It wasn't splatted all over the place crazy like 5th.

I do think 5th is the superior edition though. Greater improvement to the magic system, Spell Mastery, and like fourth, it takes greater care to be more historically accurate.

I prefer to play 5th edition for these reasons and because I like to keep current. But ArM5 is to riddled with flaws to keep it from my #1 spot. The artwork leaves something to be desired (I liked ArM3 art the best), the Wards rule is definately flawed, the Advancement system is a bit too slow (and developing elder magi seems way too weak even in these circumstances), Adventures are not rewarded enough, and most of all...

and I will never ever stop complaining aout this...

Fifth edition has been much too casual and dismissive of old cannon. I feel unrewarded for my brand loyalty, and I can never ever give 5th edition top honors because of this.

I play 5th edition, but I draw upon a lot of 4th edition cannon and for past saga history.

Tom Baker was my first and IMO the best of all of them. :wink:

Good work Yair and [secret handshake]. :wink:

Cape, owls and fasces can be picked up at the usher. :smiley:

[color=red]Caps, awls and faces are also available upon request. Congrats. :stuck_out_tongue:

crap, offal and feces respectfully withheld :wink:

Felicitations! :smiley: