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Originally Designed by Jonathan Tweet and Mark Rein•Hagen
In Ars Magica, it is the year 1220 AD. The magi of the Order of Hermes are a secretive society of wizards scattered across Mythic Europe. Their power that dwarfs the companions and grogs who serve them in their tucked-away covenants. Their concerns are mysterious, their power is great, and their counsel is their own to keep.
The greatest mages of fantasy are long-lived, and the magi of Ars Magica are no different. Detailed rule systems allow magi to work over the course of years to craft magic items, gain secrets from ancient tomes, and study the raw stuff of magic to increase their power.
The game's setting is Mythic Europe. Mythic Europe is an analog of history where the power of magic is real, the divine manifests its power on earth, infernal forces corrupt the ambitious and unwary, and faeries carry on in perplexing ways at the edges of mortal perception. Mythic Europe is simultaneously familiar and wondrous, an accessible fusion of fact and fantasy.
Troupe Style Roleplaying
Ars Magica pioneered troupe-style roleplaying, which resolves around covenants of magi. A covenant is one part fortress, one part secret society, one part university, one part adventuring party. Each player controls a variety of characters, each drawn from the covenant's cast. A player's magus is his key alter ego, but each player also creates a companion, a powerful hero of the covenant in her own right. And further, all the players share the pool of grogs, who are the covenant's foot soldiers, spear carriers, servants, and laborers.
Troupe-style roleplaying also accommodates rotating storyguides (the Ars Magica term for gamemasters) so your whole group can share the fun.
The Third Edition of Ars Magica was first published by White Wolf in 1992, and later by Wizards of the Coast and Atlas Games. It is supported by a robust line of supplements describing adventures, locations, powers, geographies, and more. Most can be downloaded in digital editions, and some are still available in print.
Written by Shannon Appel / Sam Chupp / Ken Cliffe / Christopher Earley / Sarah Link / Dave P. Martin / Mark ReinHagen / Carl Schurr / John Snead / Travis Lamar Williams