Ars Magica

Last night I found myself beginning to re-read an old favourite rulebook which I have never really managed to bring to the table: Ars Magica 5th Edition.

Magic has long been one of my favourite things about roleplaying games and, it is claimed, Ars Magica is the finest magic system of all. I can’t remember whether I agreed with that claim in the past, but I find myself curious enough to go re-read the book and find out.

What I was immediately impressed by was the grounded “Mythic Europe” setting that Ars Magica presents. I like the idea of most people being mere mortal peasants living in a world with four types of magical terror to deal with. In this world, the player characters form a bulwark against the magical challenges all around.

The default use of Troupe Play also appeals to me deeply: having a variety of characters from which to draw together a group feels like a good recipe for intermittent play with interested friends.

I suspect the character creation will be too involved for Open Table play but I sense that it might be rewarding to run short adventures with whomever is available. Ars Magica‘s characters are specifically designed to be doing other stuff most of the time and only intermittently doing “adventures”.

Finally, I like the promise of magic front-and-centre. I’ve long wanted to play Mage and this is another of those kinds of deep-world games that appeals to me. Ars Magica speaks to my love of medieval European history blended with my desire to explore the practical impact of magic on the world.

So, yeah. I am reading it slowly. Savouring the stuff Ars Magica offers and ever mindful that I own all the supplements on .PDF should I choose to bring this to the table.

Game on!


  1. I share your fascination with this game, but I have the impression it would take just the right group to make it sing. And that is hard to find. I look forward to hearing your impressions.


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