Victory in the Lair – session summary

This is a session summary for the Ars Magica home game called Ascendency of the Warp.

Session Seven – Victory in the Lair

Session began with the magi taking stock of their wounds, the strange effects surrounding the crags, and quickly agreeing to return and deal with the suspected evil. A few hours after the main force of grogs had left the covenant toward the crags Callan’s crow told him that “a handful of man walked from the caves”. Continue reading

More Shape and Material bonuses

There can be, and should be a set of volume for the Shape and Material guidelines for Ars Magica rather than the few hundred offered. Not that a few hundred is a poor effort, its great. I think we should encourage more and more.

As a start here are a few ideas.

A looped chain Ring +2
Lodestone grants as Magnet Rego +2
Lodestone sympathy with Lightning +2
Lodestone increasing weight +5
Torc ennobled presence and authority +4

A fair question is how easy or hard it is to “find” new Shape and Material bonuses, and the fairest answer I can give is that it is entirely dependent on the group of players.

My preference would be to let bonuses which are in line with the typical examples which are also very strongly present in the lore of mythic europe be “discovered” and use in the same season as they are required. ie. You create the Talisman and grant the bonus as active in the same season of activity.

A counter-point to this is to require a degree of investigation and experimentation to the process, thereby the Magus researches and confirms the bonus in a season of activity. This will suit longer games where a season of activity is not such a terrible loss of productivity. If this is the method chosen then the Magus must experiment during the season of investigation, and must roll a result which is not a disaster. The actual activity should be related to the bonus, and can easily be a spell or item using the form.

e.g. The magus wishing to confirm Lodestone as a shape and material bonus enchants a lesser invested device via experimentation, and succeeds in their result (I’d guess the magus keeps the magnitude of the effect very low) and gains the item, plus the discovery. As long as the magus successfully creates the item they also gain the discovery. A disaster in this process wrecks the item, and would also wreck the effort of trying to gain the bonus.

This is akin to the Discovery and Breakthrough rules in some of the sourcebooks, so will be no great surprise, the key difference is that the effort is greatly reduced from those rules.

Previews – Game of Thrones S2 and The Avengers

Its crazy, but just a few small things can make me insane with impatience. The Game of Thrones trailer and new Avengers trailer have done just that.

Happy dance. Now please.

Ascendency of the Warp – Sessions 1-5

Here is a quick play summary of the first five sessions of the Ars Magica game called Ascendency of the Warp. Content is collated by me, and contains contains in-character descriptions from many of the players.

Continue reading

Fray – a sample Magus for Ars Magica

As part of a play-by-post game that I hope to start playing in soon this Magus was developed as a demonstration of a beginning character, then advanced by hand season by season. Let me just say that the detail in advancement in Ars Magica makes this impressive – I cannot think of another game which outlines the progression in power so vividly for a character. Yes, that is the nature of the game, and it’s done darn well.

The campaign has some different from core advancement guidelines, but the basic point I found glaringly obvious is that a magus is far more powerful when advanced season-by-season. To do so takes a brutal amount of work, and gains about 25% extra xp overall as a base minimum. Far more if the character has suitable virtues or flaws that are powerful over elapsed time (as I chose to do).


An English born and raised Magus who was left despondent by a hermetic wizard’s march which killed his wife, and now seeks a new beginning.

Fray was once a confident self starter, who was involved in a prolonged battle or very serious life crisis, and who now is somewhat hollow. He is seeking to travel beyond the borders of the Order as his home reminds him of loss, where it was once full of such potential. This is part distraction from the past, and also to tease out something new and previously unknown. Continue reading

A spell for Interrogating Ghosts

Ghosts are tricky and maddening, especially those who insist on not being helpful no matter how close or far they are from the afterlife. In a recent rpg session the characters where trying to commune with a ghost who proved to be rather uncooperative.

The players used “Whispers Through The Black Gate”, an iconic spell in Ars Magica used for talking to ghosts. The spell is powerful but relies on the skill of the questioner, and wizards are typically poor orators and not overly sensitive to the needs of the dead.

Instead of whispers, the magi could have used force – mentally reading the ghost’s remaining mind, or even forcing it to answer using spells designed to strip truth from the unliving.

Here is a rough outline of how that spell would be presented in Ars Magica Continue reading