Ars Magica

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Ars Magica is a role-playing game set in Mythic Europe, a quasi-historical version of Europe around AD 1200 with added fantastical elements. The game revolves around magic-using wizards and their allies. The game was developed by Jonathan Tweet and Mark Rein·Hagen and first published in 1987.[2] The current edition was written by David Chart, working for Atlas Games and published in 2004.

Ars Magica was one of the first examples of a Troupe system: early editions recommended that the players collaborate to create the campaign world and story. Each player would have an opportunity to be the Story Guide, and each player would have more than one character, so that if they felt their main character would not go on an adventure (for example, if they were busy with their research) a secondary character may be used. Troupe play has been de-emphasised in recent editions, however, and in the latest (5th) edition of the game is relegated to an optional play style described at the back of the book. Many "troupes" opt for a more traditional system with a single story guide, or have one player be the "Alpha" story guide with responsibility for the overall plot, and a few "Beta" story guides who run side-adventures.

In order to produce an "authentic" feel from having such a historical setting, the game uses medieval Latin for a number of key terms.



The first two editions were published by Lion Rampant Games. In 1991, Lion Rampant merged with White Wolf Magazine to form White Wolf Game Studio.[3] White Wolf published the 3rd edition, which greatly expanded the settings and peripheral rules while leaving the core system intact. White Wolf also published many supplements, detailing specific regions of Europe, or outlining stories that could be played in the original setting. Ars Magica was later sold to Wizards of the Coast in 1994,[4] who produced several supplements, but just before publishing a 4th edition sold the rights to Atlas Games. Atlas published the fourth and fifth editions, and new source-books and supplements.

The 5th edition was released by Atlas in 2004, including extensive changes to the system, especially the combat system and character creation. Many players feel that the alterations to the combat system were long overdue,[5] especially the rules for armour, which in previous editions simply made wearers much more likely to die in combat. Ars Magica 5th edition won the Origins Award for Best Role Playing Game of 2004.

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