Ars Magica 5th Edition
The Roleplaying Game of Myth and Magic
Imagine an age where myth is real and where the superstitions of the common folk hold true: faeries dance in forest glades, angels protect the Church, demons corrupt the weak, and wizards wield magic beyond the ken of other mortals. You play these magi, gathered in covenants with your allies and servants, unlocking secret powers and creating wonders. You and your friends will also portray the loyal companions and grogs who stand with the magi, as a buffer between them and the mundane world that often misunderstands their power and motives. When adventures draw you out into the medieval world of Mythic Europe, your stories are the stuff of legend.
The award-winning First Edition of Ars Magica
by Jonathan Tweet and Mark ReinHagen set the benchmark for magic systems with what's widely regarded as the best rules for magic in all of gaming, and pioneered both troupe-style play and storytelling in roleplaying. It won the Gamer's Choice Award for Best Fantasy Roleplaying Game. The Fifth Edition won the Origins Award for Best Role Playing Game, the Gold ENnie for Best Rules, and the Out of the Box Award for Best Retread. Numerous supplements support the Fifth Edition, and dozens of still-useful supplements for previous editions cover every facet of Mythic Europe. Ars Magica
players participate in a thriving fan community, as well.
Changes to the Game
Veteran Ars Magica
players are clamoring to know what's new and different about the Fifth Edition. Here are some of the rules change highlights:
Supplements & Support
- Magic resistance has been changed so that the Parma Magica is actually the defense it's always been said to be.
- The Laboratory rules have been streamlined and unified around a single core mechanic -- the spell invention mechanic from earlier editions.
- The spell guidelines have been cleaned up, clarified, and made as consistent as possible.
- The combat rules have been completely rewritten so that armor and shield grogs are more useful.
- The introduction to Mythic Europe has been rewritten to provide information that's immediately useful in play.
- Character creation has been revised to create characters, including magi, at any age, and to create characters of similar power to those advanced through play.
There's already an enormous library of Ars Magica
supplements in our catalog, and we will continue to sell them. As a rule, we expect older sourcebooks to be usable with the new edition, and we expect them to continue to sell (just as many 3rd edition books remained strong sellers throughout the life of 4th Edition). It will be some years before there are 5th Edition replacements for many of these books.
Roughly speaking, we plan to release three to four major supplements per year for Ars Magica
, and to fill in the gaps in the current line as follows ...
Houses of Hermes
: The book Houses of Hermes, published by Wizards of the Coast, has been one of the game's top selling supplements as long as we've owned it, but is now out of print. Since the Order of Hermes is at the heart of the game, we need to replace it, but we want to offer players something meatier. We are thus planning a series of Hermetic sourcebooks for players, each one focusing on several houses with a common theme.
Realms of Power
: The Realms are the heart of magic in Mythic Europe. Our intention is to publish one Realm book every year for the first four years of the new edition's life, each covering one of the major powers of Mythic Europe -- the Divine, the Infernal, Magic, and Faerie.
: Tribunal books deal with a particular region of Mythic Europe in detail. We will be considering covering areas that haven't already been done in a previous edition of the game, as that older material is generally still useable.
: Certain aspects of Mythic Europe and the lives of the people who live there have been overlooked in the past, and are things we'll be focusing on. Books like City & Guild and Art & Academe are examples of these.
Here are just a few ways that Ars Magica
5th Edition has been promoted:
- The free PDF version of Ars Magica 4th Edition has increased awareness of the Ars Magica property and lowered the barrier for newcomers to start playing the game. It has been downloaded more than 20,000 times. We do not plan to make 5th Edition available as a free download; we will continue to offer the 4th Edition PDF for free, and encourage players to "upgrade" to the new and improved paper version at their local game store.
- Until the end of 2004 we sold it at the special introductory price of $25.00 (US), to encourage existing, active players to upgrade to the new edition immediately.
- A color poster map of Mythic Europe, the setting of Ars Magica, doubled as a promotional brochure giveaway to advertise the new edition. It was available through distributors.
- A preview of the new edition appeared in Game Trade Magazine, and reviews have appeared in places such as Scrye magazine as well as counless online locations.
- Ads were placed in the convention programs of many smaller local cons on its release, and banner ads were also placed in locations such as RPG.net
- Ars Magica is sold at all the major nationwide game conventions through our representative, Adventure Retail Ltd.
- Atlas Games' most recent catalog features the Ars Magica line prominently.
- We make PDFs of out-of-print older products available to help maintain the vitality of Ars Magica.
- Ars Magica supplements are cross-promoted through full-page ads in the newest releases in the line.
- The Special Ops demo team is encouraged to run in-store and convention demos of Ars Magica.
- Atlas Games places regular product listings for our entire Ars Magica line in Greater Games Industry Catalog and Game Trade Magazine
- Our web page features previews and teasers to talk up the new edition, and energize the base of existing fans to purchase the game or themselves and to encourage their fellow players to upgrade.
- Atlas builds the Ars Magica fan community with regular Blogger updates on the line, and by hosting the official Atlas Games Forums discussion groups.
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The Living Covenant: Semita Errabunda
Semita Errabunda is the official example covenant for Ars Magica
Fifth Edition. It is located "somewhere in Mythic Europe" -- its location is deliberately left vague. It does control a regio that sometimes leads to places all over Europe, however, so its members can crop up anywhere. The members of Semita Errabunda supply most of the example characters in Fifth Edition supplements, from the core rulebook on.
itself is surrounded by strange magic powers and inhabited by young, new wizards. Get a glimpse of the new edition's covenant statistics by downloading this introductory description of Semita Errabunda
are the peasants, commoners, and simple folk who keep the covenant running and the wizards alive.
adventure with (or for) the mighty wizards of the covenant. They are knights, warriors, diplomats, and other non-wizard heroes.
master the art of magic. These are the central characters of any Ars Magica
characters flesh out the covenant and the surrounding area.
The original concept for the Semita Errabunda project was the brainchild of Will Hindmarch, but many authors have contributed characters. Each author is credited on the appropriate character sheet.