why not a new beatiary book for AM5

:frowning: This is severely lacking. We have maybe 12-15 different AM5 animals i all the publications.

It is so simple when playing Pathfinder, Merp Rolemaster etc to just pck up a book and add said monster to the adventure as a random encounter. But for AM5 i have to sit for an hour or so to either create a magical beast, demon, divine or faerie creature. And there is a critical lack of mundane beasts in this game setting.

That is a big reason why I am considering leaving this system. Personally I am in the part of life where I dont have the time any more with dedicating hours just to make an adveture and random animals. It was different when i went to high school and university - then i could dedicarte almost 20 hours during a week to build the saturday adventure. But not so much now. Dont get me wrong i love the system and the setting. Its just that it is too time consuming for me to have regular campaign going. So I am thinking about keeping teh setting and use any other system instead where you have books that will help you as a GM.
This for me is sad since I love AM5 and I really love Atlas Games and its writers.

I mean, I bought the City and Guild book inhope that it would make it easier for me, because two of my players play craftmen. But the rules within that book, made it even more complex and time consuming that I managed to sell said book on ebay and only lose three dollars. what arm magica need is ooks that make it easier for a GM not make the game more complex and will take time from them.

I understand that the company wants to contune to sell medival bestiary and therefore do not make a new book with animals. But it is something that is sadly lacking and maybe it is not as sexy making a book with animals when you can write about new areas of the worls, the magic places in the world or new covenants. But we need such a book in my opinion.

Hmm. It seems to me you have several different complaints. Let's try to address them separately.

One complaint is that Ars Magica is too "crunchy". Too much mechanical fiddling. Now, I would contend this is a matter of taste; some people do like crunchy mechanics, particularly for stuff that happens "off-stage" (so that the crunch does not break the pace of a story). These people may not be a majority, but they are a market niche and exactly the market niche Ars Magica has been catering to from its inception: complex lab activities have always been a defining characteristic of Ars Magica, and I believe one of the great merits of David Chart has been to recognize that people who liked this sort of stuff for their magi characters would probably like it for their companion craftsmen, artists, and scholars too. If you like more lightweight stuff, you should try different systems, like Risus.

Another complaint is that Ars Magica has too few statted mundane beasts. But frankly, how many of these do you need? You have bears, wolves, birds of prey, horses, stags, bulls, snakes ... Sure, you don't have a different ten different entries for ten different types of snakes, but it's easy enough to change a number or two on the fly -- maybe one is a little little quicker, or has a more virulent poison, or ... whatever. Same thing with wolves vs. dogs, or eagles vs. hawks vs. owls. The only two things that seem to be missing, to me, are a) water creatures, from sharks to cuttlefish to whales and b) swarms of vermin, possibly poisonous like wasps or bees. Actually, they may well be somewhere I don't remember. (Incidentally, this is my main complaint with what beasts we have, and more in general with a lot of Ars Magica stuff -- things are scattered over dozens of books, and finding them requires archivist skills on a professional level :slight_smile:). Still, it takes relatively little time to create two or three variations of dangerous fish, and of vermin swarms, and once you've done that, you have all the mundane creatures you need.

A third complaint is that Ars Magica has too few statted wondrous creatures, from the unicorn to the amphisbena, from the centaur to the draugr, from the classic dragon to the obscure nucklavee -- so that you can't just pick one and "throw it" at your players as a random encounter. Now, that may be true, but I think that the reason why wondrous creatures are wondrous is that in Ars Magica you don't encounter them by the droves, except in very specific campaigns located in very exotic locales. In my sagas, there's almost never more than one wondrous creature in a given story, and it's never a "random encounter" -- it's the focus of the story and so its powers are tightly integrated into the story, whether it's an orm causing trouble with the covenant's cattle or a ghost haunting a particular vis site. Again, this may not be your style of play, and I do realize that probably the majority of roleplayers have something more of a D&D model in mind, but I think this really fits the design philosophy of Ars Magica and the style of play of most Ars Magica players. I am grateful to the designers that we have something as distinctive as Ars Magica, instead of one more variation of D&D. In any case, we do have quite a few wondrous creatures, if you read through RoP:M and RoP:F, definitely more than the 12-15 you cite (from a pure gut feeling, I'd say we pass the one hundred mark).

Generally it is a complaint about too few beasts and why there is not a bestiary book for AM5.

I just want to explain why I think that it is needed. I dont mind complicated crunvhy rules, but it is not a game for someone trying to work, care for a newborn baby and still have time to GM on a weekly basis. because if you dont explain things on these forums you just get a side answer about making creatures beforehand.

I am in total agreement. Fifth edition would really benefit from an updated bestiary. And each entry is a potential story hook.

That would be number one for me. But I know others aren't in the same place on the wishlist. In the meantime I'm trying to write up a bunch of mundane animals myself. It's a bit overwhelming just how many mundane animals there are around Europe, though.

I think that part of the issue is that, generally, it is assumed that killing wildlife isn't going to be a significant part of most ArM adventures. It's more about interacting with people and supernatural beings.

Realistically, most Mythic European wildlife should probably avoid directly interacting with people. Potentially, isolated individuals or small groups might be attacked by wolves or bears, etc. But that should be relatively rare, and statistics do seem to be provided for most of the iconic, large predatory animals. Variations on those animals can be pretty easily improvised by simply changing the name and perhaps a statistic or two.

Mundane beasts are probably more of an issue if you are thinking about the sorts of encounters that isolated familiars (and potentially isolated Bjornaer or magi using shape-shifting spells) might have. But it seems reasonably easy to improvise on the basis of what is provided in the book of mundane beasts.

This is exactly why I have an issue with the lack of animals. Between Familiars, Bjornaer, MuCo(An), Skinchanger, Shapeshifter, Animal Ken, Summon Animals, and Lycanthrope it seems like we regularly look at an average of more than one mundane beast per magus. From my limited view, this has meant nearly all of these are chosen from the same small subset of the possible animals. For example, all the Bjornaer I've seen among PC magi are stags, wolves, bears, or falcons, as are most the NPC Bjornaer. The method in HoH:MC helped a lot, but not enough.

A bestiary would be great.

And it seems like a pretty easy book to write. Making characters isn't exactly easy, but it's not as hard as creating and testing new rules.

I agree that most ArM adventures are just not about mundane animals and thus think that the Book of Mundane Beasts is enough on that topic. The HoHMC treatment is overkill but good for SGs that want to go above and beyond that. I see no need for animal statistics beyond that, although I could see a re-printed Bestiary along the lines of the original one, which published not just animal statistics but story seeds based on the animals and their lore.

More generally, I think ArM could definitely use a Monster Manual. The thing about a Monster Manual is that it has a collection of creatures that fill particular roles in D&D stories. So you can pick up the MM, pull a few creatures of different types, and the outline of the plot is all ready for you. I think ArM could use such a book too. The typical stories of ArM are different so the monsters would be as well, but the principle is still good and valid and could really help SGs out.

I join my voice to those in favor of such a bestiary. I'd ge even farther, in that pre-made "creatures" can be a great time-saver for storyguides. And I say "creatures" because it is not only true for animals and supernatural creatures, but also for some human roles.

Having a sample brigand/knight/young thief/guard dog/goblin (with full stats) can help the storyguide quickly fill a role in the story he is trying to tell, with minimal adaptations to the stats. That means he can concentrate on the story rather than spend much of his time designing the "creatures" he will be using to tell it. Having them gathered in a single supplement saves him from having to dig them out of the dozens of books that are now part of the ArM5 line. Or from having to wing it during the story, because suddely the players are going in a direction he didn't foresee.

None of these are as long to design as a senior magus, but then none of them are as crucial and require as much tailoring to the story being told.

This could even be a collaborative work and available freely for download, if people on these boards wanted to create something like that.

I am willing to donate my creations to the cause :slight_smile:

Likewise. I'm new to the game, but I fancy myself a pretty decent writer.

So if people here want to start a collaborative monster manual of sorts, I'm in.

I'm thinking I'd make a Rat King and a hostile magus. Maybe some centaurs or a roc.

I brought this topic up in a thread a few years ago (can't find it now, curse it) along with some other books (Grimoire for AR5, Covenants 2) I thought Ars should have and everybody let me know it was the stupidest idea anybody had ever had. I'm glad to see others feel the same as I. Now if we could just talk them into re-doing the Grimoire for AR5 I'd be less discontent.

I am also a huge fan of ye olde Wizard's Grimoire & WGRE. I would love to see a new one. I have in the past made many contributions to Yair's Net Grimoire.
Adapting that idea to this one, I advocate a Net Bestiary. Something anyone can join and contribute creations. We can do it here in a sticky (like the ones just above the conversation topics here); maybe Yair can expand his Grimoire to include beasts, or someone can start a wiki.

I'm not that concerned with a new bestiary and really don't like the idea of a monster manual as you describe it. Unlike D&D, Ars is not a game where herds of wild minotaurs roam the plains. There is a Minotaur, in a specific place, with specific abilities. There may be other bull-headed "men" around (probably actually faeries), but they are not The Minotaur and most likely have different abilities.

Monsters in Ars are individuals, not races.

If Ars gets a new (official) bestiary, I think it would best serve the line for that bestiary to focus primarily on the legends around the different creatures and de-emphasize stats and mechanics, to the extent that they're present at all.

I would see much more use (and have much more interest) in something like this - a rogue's gallery of common characters that can be inserted into stories as needed. And some of those characters might be monstrous, but, even so, they should be presented first and foremost as characters, not as D&D-style monsters. (Which is something that Ars has always been very good about, IMO.)

What I was hoping that there were was a book with 90% mundane beasts to help with encounters (Players do not always play mages and I have had three angry mountain goats almost bonk the s**t out of two magi because the two magi was climbing a mountain in the breeding time of the year. OH my God what those magis got hurt from the three male goats. They still laugh at it and the other magi at the covenant love to harass them with stories of the magi-slaying goats.

Mundane beasts are very important for Bjornaer, shapeshifters and familiar hunters. Monsters are fuun, but it is not paramount to what I was asking for.

They were obviously gruffs!

But there're already relevant statistics for many mundane animals if you know where to look. Just stripping the magic parts off of the example Magic animals in RoP:M gets you most of the way there.

Ain't nobody got time for that!

Ye olde "Book of Mundane Beasts" could be greatly expanded, and a story hook and magic beast of virtue &/or other realm option attached for each one. The "Build a Beast" rules from Mystery Cults cold use some clarification and expansion.
It doesn't matter what the beast is used for or even how it woukd be used. Hard stats aid the gamer's imagination. They are the building blocks of their virtual reality. And they save time for players & storyguide who have little of it.
And fan generated stats stats on a wili are fine and useful. But official game line stats help firm and ispire imagination and aid in troupe consensus.

I think they're out there, just scattered across several books, and there is a Book of Mundane Beasts in HoH:MC, as well as the separate pdf.

I know F&F has quite a few creatures, BS&S does, too. There are also quite a few in various places the original poster doesn't like talking about and so I won't mention them or the plans such sources might have for collecting, updating, and expanding what content might exist in those sources.


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