Ars Magica is a roleplaying game currently in its fifth edition, published by Atlas Games. This edition forms the basis for the Ars Magica Wikia.
About Ars MagicaEdit
Ars Magica is set in Mythic Europe, a fantasy reinterpretation of the historical European Middle Ages. The most important characters in play are Magi, powerful magicians wielding the magical powers of legend and fantasy, who congregate in Covenants, along with their followers, often, but not always, for common purpose.
Most Magi within Mythic Europe belong to a society of wizards called the Order of Hermes, founded by the wizard Bonisagus who created a single theory of magic and a defense that allowed Magi to gather without fear of violence or treachery.
Players in Ars Magica generate several types of characters and often the Covenant itself, which is developed in a similar way. The primary characters around which most stories will revolve are Magi, the wizards of legend and rumor. Companions are remarkable characters in their own right, lacking the magical power of wizards, but with considerable ability and resources of their own. Finally there are Grogs, who are the guards, henchmen and servants of the Covenant. Typically each player will generate a Magus and a Companion, and will choose which one to play for each individual story. Grogs and the Covenant itself are generated either by the Storyguide (Gamemaster) or communally. As the characters and their covenant mature, the types of stories that can be told around them change as well.
The Ars Magica game system is skill-based and is built around a common mechanic of adding skill and attribute ratings to a d10 roll and comparing this result to an Ease Factor (target number.) Much character advancement occurs via the passage of time, and sagas (campaigns) often last for decades or centuries of game time. The magic system is widely acclaimed as the finest ever designed for any roleplaying game.
Ars Magica was originally developed by Johnathan Tweet and Mark Rein·Hagen and was published in its first edition in 1987 By Lion Rampant. A second edition, still considered by some fans to be the definitive version of the game, was released in 1989.
By 1989 Lion Rampant was facing financial problems and in 1990 the company relocated to Georgia. Around the same time John Nephew left the company to found Atlas Games, which would produce several licensed products for Ars Magica before eventually acquiring the game outright. In 1990 Lion Rampant announced that they would merge with what was then White Wolf Magazine to form White Wolf Game Studio.
The third edition of the game was published in 1992 by the new White Wolf, offering a dramatic visual improvement to the game but making many changes, some of which players have found unpalatable. Nevertheless, White Wolf published over twenty books for the line. In 1994 White Wolf sold the game to Wizards of the Coast, which began developing a fourth edition of the game. However, Wizards' RPG efforts met with mixed success, and in December 1995 they closed won their entire RPG division, while active shopping their various properties to responsible publishers. On March 6, 1996, Wizards announced that Ars Magica had been purchased by Atlas Games, which would publish the fourth edition in August of that year.
In 2003 Atlas took the then-unprecedented step of making the entire text of Ars Magica Fourth Edition a free PDF download, to great success. Around that time it was announced that a fifth edition of the game was in development.
That fifth edition was released in 2005, and represented a significant redesign of many core systems. Since then, Atlas has continued to support the game with a number of high-quality supplements, including books on the Hermetic Houses (The Houses of Hermes series) and the realms of power (the Realms of Power series.)
Books for Ars Magica Fifth EditionEdit
- Ars Magica Fifth Edition Core Rulebook
- The Mysteries, Revised Edition
- Ancient Magic
- City & Guild
- Art & Academe
- Hedge Magic, Revised Edition (Forthcoming)
Houses of Hermes SeriesEdit
Realms of Power SeriesEdit
- Realms of Power: The Divine
- Realms of Power: The Infernal
- Realms of Power: Magic
- Realms of Power: Faerie