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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 77 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Ars Magica: Darkest Days Part One (Long)  (Read 6304 times)

Posts: 72

« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2003, 10:23:37 AM »

Quote from: Jeffrey Miller

Forgive me a quick rant, but never ever ever let players take as a disadvantage (in ANY game system) "Overconfident" - PCs by definition are overconfident, and its a cheap way to get a couple character creation points;  doubly so in Ars.

It's a Advantages/Disadvantages system, they all do this.  Overconfient is just a very good example of the problem with what Gurps would call a Mental Disadvantage.  Actually, in Ars, the biggest culprit was the Orphan flaw from 3rd edition, whose effect was something like "Your parents are dead, and you grew up alone.  You find it very difficult to trust anyone."  In a game which promotes paranoia on the scale ArM can, this was almost a positive benefit.  We sure had a lot of Orphans at our covenant.

On a more productive note: everyone has given a good deal of useful advice about the Narrative qualities of ArM, but you should be aware of the Gamist focus it also produces with the lab rules.  

The mechanical effects of lab work are one of the strong points of the game, and some players will take to them like a duck to water.  The 4th edition rules are relatively solid (even if have personal quibles with some of their effects).  The full implications of different things, however, takes a while to come out.  The best you can do try to find a consensus before hand that will allow everyone to get their feet wet comfortably.  Inevitably, someone will come up with something that is overpowered, or a waste of their time, and you may need to make some retroactive changes--particularly with spells and magic items.  (Magic items, for instance, were way overpowered in 2nd ed., and we had to do something about it pronto.)  It'll be a great deal easier if everyone understands this before hand.  Oh, and encourage them stay away from experiementation until they understand the implications of the basic system.

Really, it is not that difficult, but it does take a bit of time for everyone to get the hang of it--that moment will be obvious when everyone suddenly becomes very enthusiastic about time in the lab.

I never wrote a Fantasy Heartbreaker, instead, I re-wrote the lab system, the combat system, the entire spell-list and its underlying principles, the peripheral skills, and the experience rules of Ars Magica.  Pretty much the same effect.

Posts: 384

« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2003, 09:07:22 AM »

Quote from: John Kim

Could you elaborate on this?  In the larger picture, Europe has recovered from the Black Death (circa 1348), but its after-effects are still clearly felt.  Society has changed, but modes of thought and government have not (at least in my rough impression of the period).  Apropos of Cologne, the Rhenish league of cities has been conquered by a more feudal power structure.  From the wording, it seems like your second and third points make this and anti-Renaissance game -- i.e. knowledge is dangerous; prevent the wheels from turning.  I suspect that isn't what you meant, but could you elaborate?

Well its one of the conflicts I am going to introduce as sort of a systemic presure on the characters.  Without giving away too much, I am hoping that the desire for social prgress, thenew scientific and religious ideas etc, becomes entangled in their desires for magical knowledge and growth.

One possible example: Prince Vici of Genoa has progressive policies with regard to church and state and is close to aboloshing serfdom.  He is also holding the Book of Bad Russian Mojo and using it in his military adventures. HE will gladly let you look at it and study from it if you support his policies.  Of course you know reding the book is dangerous for any extended period and eventually Prince Vici will go dangerously mad.

I suppose it comes down to "What for you, is the price of Knowledge and power?"

I also prefer and try to build dynamic worlds.  Things happen that PC's don't see or don't know or don't care about.
per Example, PC's are in City X to study something. A 830am that day Bob gets on the A train with a bomb and at 837 it explodes, killing 300 people.  Well the PC's may not be in the city for a reason that connects them to Bob and his bomb plot.  So if they choose to investigate or even care, its all up to them and if not then we continue on.  Regardless Bob is still getting on that train.

My preference will be to follow the leads they give me but thats not to say things won't be going aroudn them.  However, since I tend not to set Armageddon as a plotline, there is no right or wrong if the Players don't go for my hooks.  They are there and they can show interest or not.

Its a fine line but I believe a world cannot feel alive if stuff only happens in camera.

Thanks everyone so far for the very great advice.  Everything is helping me a great deal.  Thank you


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