Guarin, a Redcap philanderer

A sample Redcap character, Companion, for Ars Magica.


Two senior Redcaps lookout from a balcony in Harco to the covenant below. They have been reviewing the recent unassigned messengers and are down to the last of them; the troublesome ones.

“Tell you about Guarin?” shaking head and exhaling slowly.

“He should be so much more. Noble family, educated, experienced. He came very highly recommended. Charming as all get out too. One of those fellows who made good in their early career and then started to stray. With the freedoms granted to redcaps his proclivities grew unnoticed for many years, and now his habits are probably difficult for him to control. ”

“His last brief assignment was a negative promotion, intended to set him straight. We placed him in his homeland, had him working under another recently gauntleted redcap, and also closely monitored. The message was made clear – fly straight. I believe too he tried to do the right thing, at least initially. In the end he seduced the junior redcap, caused a paternity stir in the nobility, and had a second lover defend him in some affair which ended in certamen. We’re now finished cleaning up the mess, but I’m running out of patience with him. ”

Watching her face, “So he’s useless?”

Sounding a little despondent, “No, far from it. He needs a focus. A challenge. Guarin speaks of wanting more and doesn’t always intend for the indiscretions to happen; if that’s believable. ”

“If you’ll take a recommendation? Place him elsewhere. Set him apart from our core, throw the worst of it at him and see if he rises to the challenge. You sent that drunkard Jernot to the steps of Novgorod to be rid of him, and we were done with him. So give Guarin an assignment distasteful, but close enough that he can be monitored. If he rises, then we have recovered him. If he fails then he does so without affecting the wider House and Order. ”

“I don’t like using that approach often.”

“We have a need in (to be determined) where that rabble of odd-bod magi are. And I think Guarin knows one of them. ”

Laughing slightly, “why is that not surprising! Done. Send him. ”

…”now onto Franc of The Ice Steps?”

“No. Dinner. I can’t face a discussion of Franc on an empty stomach.” Continue reading

Seamus the Red, a companion. Sample Ars Magica Character


A cold and bloodthirsty mercenary leader, who with his warband acts as muscle for hire.


Characteristics: Int 0, Per +1, Pre +2, Com 0, Str +2, Sta +2, Dex 0, Qik 0
Size: 0, Age: 45 (45), Gender: Male
Decrepitude: 0, Warping Score: 0 (0), Confidence: 1 (3)
Virtues and Flaws: Improved Characteristics, Mercenary Captain, Social Contacts (the Order), Unaffected by the Gift, Wealthy, Well-Traveled (50/50), Unaging, Puissant Single Weapon, Ambitious, Bloodthirsty, Continence, Favors (a Lord tba), Infamous, Magical Animal Companion (Dog, Size: -2, Might: 12) [Size: -2]

Reputations: Cold 1, Humourless 2, Bloodthirsty 4 (?)

Abilities: Animal Handling 1 Area Lore: Area Lore: Scottland 2 (backways), Area Lore: Ireland 2 (holdfasts), Area Lore: England 2 (backroads), Athletics 2 (running), Awareness 3 (alertness), Bargain 4 (warbands), Carouse 1 (staying sober), Chirurgy 2 (binding wounds), Church Lore 1, Combat: Bows 3 (Bow, Long), Brawl 5 (Dodge), Crossbows 1 (Point Blank), Great Weapon 4 (Pole Axe), Single Weapon 8+2 (Sword, Long), Thrown Weapon 2 (Knife, Throwing), Concentration 1 (in combat), Etiquette 2 (the Order), Folk Ken 2 (peasants), Guile 3 (non-commital answers), Hunt 4 (people), Intrigue 2 (alliances), Languages: English 1, Gaelic 5 (being polite), Irish 2, Welsh 2, Leadership 5 (in combat), Order of Hermes Lore 1, Ride 3 (battle), Scribe 1, Soldier 2, Stealth 2 (shadowing), Survival 2 (wilderness), Swim 2 (staying afloat), Teaching 3 (Single Weapon).

Fearg, a Bloodhound
Magic Might: 15 (Animal)
Characteristics: Int +1, Per +2, Pre -4, Com 0, Str +2, Sta +2, Dex +2, Qik +2
Size: 0
Season: Spring, Confidence: 1 (3)
Virtues and Flaws: Affinity with Brawl, Improved Characteristics*, Long-Winded (Fatigue Rolls: +3)*, Magic Animal, Puissant
Brawl, Sharp Ears (Hearing: +3)*, Tough (Soak: +3), Reckless*, Wrathful

Qualities and Inferiorities: Gift of Speech, Greater Power × 2: 100/100, Improved Abilities × 2 (+100 exp), Improved Damage ×2 (Bite: +6), Improved Defense × 1 (Dodge: +2), Personal Power × 3: 60/75
Personality Traits: Reckless +3, Loyal +3, Brave +2
Reputations: Loyal (Local) 2

Bite: Init: +2, Attack +11, Defense +9, Damage +9
Dodge: Init: +2, Attack –, Defense +11, Damage —
Soak: +5
Fatigue levels: OK, 0, -1, -3, -5, Unconscious
Wound Penalties: -1 (1-5), -3 (6-10), -5 (11-15), Incapacitated (16-20), Dead (21+)
Abilities: Athletics 4 (distance running), Awareness 4 (keeping watch), Brawl 4+2 (Dodge), Concentration 1, Gaelic 2 (Profanity),
Hunt 4 (track by scent), Stealth 1 (+2, 2), Survival 1 (Moors), Swim 1
Encumbrance: 0 (0)

Invulnerability to Metal (Personal: 45), Points: 0, Initiative: Qik-3, Form: Terram, Range: Per, +0, Duration: Sun, +2, Target: Ind,
+0, Level: ReTe30, Design: 30 levels, Base 5, +2 Sun, +1 constant, +2 affect metal, -3 Might cost

Nose of the Bloodhound (Greater: 40), Points: 0, Initiative: Qik-2, Form: Corpus, Range: Arc, +4, Duration: Conc, +1, Target: Ind,
+0, Level: InCo25, Requisite: Animal, Design: 25 levels, Base 3, +4 Arc, +1 Conc, +1 scent acts as Arcane Connection, -3 Might cost

Shadow Form (Greater: 60), Points: 0, Initiative: Qik-2, Form: Animal, Range: Per, +0, Duration: Diam, +1, Target: Ind, +0, Level:
MuAn35, Design: 35 levels, Base 30, +1 Diam, -4 Might cost, +1 Initiative cost

Sleep with Eyes Open (Personal: 15), Points: 0, Initiative: Qik-1, Form: Animal, Range: Per, +0, Duration: Sun, +2, Target: Circle,
+0, Level: ReAn10, Design: 10 levels, Base 3, +2 Sun, +1 constant, -1 Might cost

XP Calculation (ArM How To)

As a response to the confusion* I had when my players were creating characters, here is a summary how XP is calculated for characters in Ars Magica; using a slightly different method from the default in the style of explanation. The outcome is the same, and I find the points breakdown far easier to spend during creation, especially when done by hand.

As there are two broad character types in Ars Magica, the character generation is also designed in two ways: there are rules for Magi, and rules for everyone else. The Companion and Grog (mundanes) rules are very simple, and the Magi rules are far more complicated.

XP in 5th edition has been heavily base-lined, so that the points spent in Abilities (skills) are the same as the points spent on Arts and Spells (magical powers). The characters spend them in different ways, but essentially as the points are the same, I sum up the totals, and set checkpoints for the minimum spend in the different areas.

The examples below for Magi demonstrate how powerful having post-apprenticeship years are before play begins, so it is worth noting that it is not typical to do this for young Magi, or that it might create an imbalance between characters. Be wary allowing too many years post-apprenticeship, and always enforce the Warp point penalties (2 per year post-apprenticeship).

XP Formula: Early Childhood + Later Life (+ Apprenticeship + Post-Apprenticeship)

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