One of the topics that cycles regularly over the years is doing an Ars Magics game without player character wizards. Magi (and covenants) are a huge focus of the game, so removing that element really starts to become – what are you seeking play?
The setting material as quasi-historic, perhaps a long precursor game to the introduction of wizards, or a feel for life around the Order of Hermes but not within it. It could be interesting and there are certainly other games about which do similar things.
It reminds me of the Fantasy Flight Games for Death Watch when compared to playing “normal people”. The Space Marines are so pivotal in their fluff stories and so overpowered compared to regular humans that there is no real middle ground. And yet FFG have a darn successful set of RPGs set specifically at various power levels. Sure the player characters are not space marines, but they might be inquisitors, rogue traders, or darn tough mercenaries.
So why can’t Ars Magica do this too?
Setting: Mythic Heresy – a tip of the hat to the Dark Heresy rpg where the players are members of an inquisition investigation team seeking to uncover the truth of various mythic legends and stories.
Some quick thoughts:
- Finding magic, or any other supernatural force might be a discovery in the setting. Or magic could all be gumpf, or all the work of the devil.
- It could get dark quickly. Especially if real work horrors are used as inspiration. i.e. The Cathars.
- Playing along side the magi or having to confront a magi should be the ultimate story event if it’s going to happen. Much like finally seeing an eldritch horror in a Call of Cthulhu game. If fact CoC probably has some delights to offer which are readily transportable.
- Not having magic might make players design diverse characters?
- Should the players build a team of investigators or mix it up?