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Ars Magica, Fifth Edition – CC

Posted by paradisio on November 2, 2007

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Ars Magica is a medieval fantasy game, produced by Atlas Games. I’ll be using the 5th (and latest) version of the game, I don’t have any supplements or anything, so I’m sticking with the core. The game is sort of a fantasy Mage: The Awakening. To be honest, I’ve never actually statted a character out for this game before, as all my games I’ve tried to run have died before they got off the ground.

The game encourages troupe style play (and from what I heard invented it), where players share some characters basically. But in general each player has one main character, a Magi; call it sorcerer or wizard or whatever, and that is what I’ll be making. In addition to Magi the game has rules for Companions which is basically just an important non-magi; and then there are Grogs which are minor characters who defend your covenant or are just helpful NPCs.

Anyways, I’m building from scratch (as I will when I get the option), so my first thing I need to do is get a concept and name. In addition, a Magi must pick a hermetic house they belong to. For a concept I’ll go with a mage named Lisius, a rather bland looking fellow who wants to be in charge of his own Covenant, and will do basically anything to get there, so he focuses on manipulation on magic, and he is generally much more of a control freak than his appearance would reveal. For House I choose the True Lineage house of Bonisagus, which included Politicians so it seems fitting for the character, although several of them would be appropriate.

Next is Virtues and Flaws. As a Magi I can have up to 10 points in Flaws and the same number of points in Virtues. I get (and have to take) Social Status Hermetic Magi for free along with The Gift (also free) which gives me the ability to cast spells. I’ll start with Flaws, since that’ll adjucate how many virtues I get.

Flaws:
Obsessed (Minor, Personality)
Driven (Major, Personality)
Fury (Major, Story)

Basically he will do basically anything to achieve his goal, and if you hinder him he will kill you. Kind of turning into more of a psycho.

Ok, Major flaws are worth 3 points, and Minor is worth 1; so I have 7 points for virtue, who follow the same cost scheme.

Virtues:
I get Puissant Intrigue (Politicians) for free from my house.
Educated (Minor, General)
Free Study (Minor, Hermetic)
Gossip (Minor, General)
Privileged Upbringing (Minor, General)
Self-Confident (Minor, General)
Strong-Willed (Minor, General)
Subtle Magic (Minor, Hermetic)

He is well practiced in using his magic stealthfully, and is a very proud, smart, and knowledgeable man. He doesn’t rely on the teach of others much, preferring to help himself to make him look stronger.

Alright, next is Characteristics. I have 7 points to divide between the characteristics. Unlike most games, 0 is the average, and for most people the characteristics will fall between -3 and +3. 0 is free, 1 costs 1, 2 costs 3, and 3 costs 6 (both for gaining and losing points.) Intelligence is pretty important, and Communication and Presence is important for this character as well.

Intelligence: 2
Perception: 0
Strength: -1
Stamina: 0
Presence: 2
Communication: 2
Dexterity: -1
Quickness: 0

He isn’t exactly the toughest physical specimen, but that really isn’t his style or type.

Next I basically go through my characters lift before the game, which helps to develop my character with some pre-experience points. Because I have a Privileged Upbringing I have 50 additional experience points which can be spent on General, Academic or Martial Abilities. Also because I have educated I can buy academic abilities normally, I also get 50 experience points which must be spent on Latin and Artes Liberales.

I first do my childhood, where I have 45 experience, and get my native language, it has a pretty select skill list and will determine how I spent my first years.
Native Language: 5
Lore (Where I grew up): 1
Awareness: 2
Charm: 2
Folk Ken: 1
Guile: 1

After that I have my later life, the years before I became a mage. Childhood ends at 5, and apprenticeship generally starts fairly early, so I’ll say I have 5 years of ‘Later Life’ Experience. My Educated and Privileged Upbringing come into effect here as well. I’m including my previous skills as well, so I’m building up the skill list.

Native Language: 5
Lore (Where I grew up): 1
Awareness: 2
Charm: 2
Folk Ken: 2
Guile: 2
Language (Latin): 4
Artes Liberales: 4
Great Weapon: 1
Civil and Canon Law: 2
Carouse: 2
Leadership: 2

Next I have my apprenticeship, this is the big one. I have 240 points to spend, which can be spent on anything but supernatural abilities. I also added specialties, unlike other games, specialties are free and should be assigned to each to tell what specifically you are good at.

Native Language: 5 (specific technical vocabulary)
Lore (Where I grew up): 2 (legends)
Awareness: 2 (alertness)
Charm: 2 (First impressions)
Folk Ken: 2 (nobles)
Guile: 2 (elaborate lies)
Language (Latin): 4 (academia)
Artes Liberales: 4 (magic)
Great Weapon: 2 (staffs)
Civil and Canon Law: 2 (Local: Home area)
Carouse: 2 (games of chance)
Leadership: 2 (intimidation)
Code of Hermes: 3 (political intrigue)
Finesse: 3 (precision)
Magic Lore: 3 (Magical traditions)
Magic Theory: 3 (inventing spells)
Parma Magica: 1 (mind)
Penetration: 1 (Control)
Concentration: 3 (spell)

I have 60 points left over for my hermetic arts. I buy Rego (Control) 8, Animal 3, and Mentem (Mind) 5. Since I have 3 points left I buy Perdo 2 encase I want to melt someones brain.

Now I could gain more points if I become older before the game starts, but this is getting long already, so I’ll skip that since it’s just more of the same. Besides, he would want to get started early.

I still need to select some spells to start with, I have 120 levels of spells to start with. It’s a bit complicated, but I’ll just go by the spells in the book. I get Aura of Rightful Authoity (100 left), Scent of Peaceful Slumber (80 left), Panic of the Elephant’s Mouse (65 left), Soothe the Ferocious Bear (55 left), Decay Fur and Hide (45 left), Trust of Childlike Faith (35 left), Calm the Motion of the Heart (20 left), Enchantment of Detachment (5 left), Top of the Tongue (0 left.)

Okay, I’m pretty much done.  I do my personality, which is basically I choose three describing words and give them from -3 to +3.  I choose confident +3, Greedy (-2), and serious (+0.)

After that is confidence.  I start with a confidence score of 1 and 3 confidence points.  But I have the Self-Confident virtue which makes that 2 and 5 instead.  It’s a kind of luck point type thing basically.

Last is equipment, he wouldn’t have anything out of the ordinary, so I’m not really going to go into it.  I imagine he has a set of nice robes and a moderately jeweled staff.

That’s it!

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