House Rules

These rules act as enhancements and clarifications for the Ars Magica role-playing game, as used by our group.

New Covenant Members

Character Generation Clarifications

Overall these updates will probably not change how the characters would have been generated too much, and gives flexibility to magi who don’t really care about writing books, but might have to write a book now and then. It is important to note that Magi have some specific limitations if they do not take certain minimum values during character generation.
◾ To establish your own Lab you need a Magic Theory of at least 3. A Magus does not actually need to establish their own lab, however most do due to the social and security implications of the sanctum.
◾To utilise Books you need a minimum of Latin 4 and Artes Liberales 1.
◾ To write books you need a minimum of Latin 4, although the Quality of the book is reduced by -2 if your score is less than 5. The rationale here is that anyone can write a book, however you need a score of at least 4 to be able to write about a complex topic, and a score of 5 to be able to write about it without penalty.

Character Consolidation

After an initial few stories the major characters will get the opportunity to tweak their characters. This is so that the character will either be a better mechanical match to the character concept, or to adjust away from serious creation errors. A principal in deciding what can be changed is where any affect or aspect has been introduced into play, or been used. For example a character may elect to add a skill they are missing, but they may not do that if the game lore has established that they do not have that skill. i.e. Languages. All changes need to be agreed by the story guide, and may need approval from the other players if they are major enough.


Wards do not need to surpass the creature’s Magic Resistance to ward against it. They ward against creatures of Might as per the guidelines, regardless of the creature’s magic resistance.

Aggregated Lab Activities

A number of small similar lab activities can be combined into a single lab session, to represent the ease of the tasks. The number on concurrent activities is limited by:
◾Activities must be of the same type. eg. Item creation, spell creation, etc.
◾The practitioner’s Concentration ability score limited the maximum number of tasks.
◾Activities can utilise any combination of form and techniques, however all arts are considered requisites for the activities.
◾The practitioner’s lab total must double the combined power level of all activities, so that it can be performed in a single season.

Multi-topic Books

When writing a text the author can decide to split their points between multiple topics, creating a book which has two topics instead of one. eg. Instead of a summae Intrigue 3, they might write a summae with Intrigue 3, Order of Hermes Lore 1 in the same text at the same time.
◾The author’s communication is the maximum number of topics which can be written about at once, with a minimum of one.
◾The author can only gain a quality bonus by writing below half their level if they can write on both topics at the same level of increased quality.

Basic Laboratory Activities

◾Fixing Arcane Connections – It requires 1 month of lab work (not 1 season) to fix an arcane connection. This costs 1 Vim Vis. (I am pondering making this 1 week, so it can be done as a distraction to a normal season, but not sure what affect that will have yet).

Adventure Experience

According to the official rules, a character can only gain experience points from one source during a season. Because players should not have to worry about losing seasonal experience for going out and doing something interesting, adventure experience is cumulative with all others. Adventures always become opportunities.

How does Parma Magica work?

Parma Magica is a damn tricky game mechanic, fought with interpretation issues. Each saga has different rules for how it takes affect, be that a true magical force, a neutralisation of powers, or a separate ritual which itself can be cancelled.

In short, I don’t have a solution which is perfect either, but like some of these guidelines from the Atlas forums to the question: “In the conundrum of the pink dot defense, does Parma block or suppress?”

One answer was:
There is an alternative I prefer to both of those two. It blocks magical effects/things, but not non-magical things. I know it sounds just like our typical blocking interpretation, but sometimes it seems to follow suppressing idea. Here are examples of how I like it to work, assuming there is too little penetration:
1.Magic is continually pushing a mundane arrow to its target. The magical motion ends so the arrow is not moving through the PM.
2.Magic launches a mundane arrow and lets it fly on its own. The arrow passes right through the PM.
3.A mundane ballista bolt is changed into an arrow and shot from a bow. The arrow stops at the PM because the entire thing present is magical.
4.A mundane arrow shot from a bow has a pink dot placed on it by the almost crafty magus. The arrow passes through the PM without a pink dot.
5.An arrow with no relevant enchantments is shot from a bow. It passes through the PM.
6.An arrow is enchanted so it cannot break, and that’s the only enchantment, is shot from a bow. It passes through the PM, but it could break on the magus’s armor because the effect is excluded.
7.An arrow is enchanted so that its tip is supernaturally sharp. It passes through the PM, but the tip that strikes the magus is only naturally sharp because the effect is excluded.

Item 1 and 2 are pretty well understood and accepted by everyone so those are nothing special. The rest are somewhat debatable, but will serve as a starting point. I know that these are inconsistent and is very close to the “intelligent parma” model which was implied in earlier editions; but I don’t mind as much yet.

For example, an arrow is enchanted so that all nearby metal and wood cannot be broken. It is otherwise not enchanted. It is shot from a bow while a whole bunch of totally mundane arrows are shot from bows at nearby unprotected grogs. The arrow could break on the magus’s armor. But all the arrows that just struck the unprotected grogs nearby could not break. See, the magic is not being suppressed. It’s still there and active. It just can’t affect inside the Parma Magica if it can’t Penetrate. Thus I’m still using a blocking interpretation. I’m just using blocking differently than the traditional method, as I said I was.

Mentum Effects and Durations

Some Mentum effects have strange durations. Peering into the Mortal Mind appears to impart a lot of information in a very short time (probing and understanding the contents of the mind, with short and long term motivations, but the duration is momentary).

Clearly something is not right, so the house rule is: The level 25 Base effect allows the effect to provide information about one specific scenario or complex premise per casting. The spell does unlock all the available information in the mind, but the duration of the spell dictates how long the caster has to ask, and how broad that probing can be.

The duration of Intellego Mentum spells can be extended to allow a more casual browse, but this facilitates the caster asking about multiple scenarios, or getting highly specific information on a scenario.

As a base we will consider the mind is far less like “an open book” and far more chaotic, mysterious, and difficult to comprehend. It might be appropriate to consider logic or enigmatic wisdom checks to navigate the answers returned.

Lastly the mind of creatures is always subject to their own perception, and also to degradation. This is particularly relevant for spells which interrogate the dead, where the memories of the dead become malformed and forgotten as time passes.

Wound Recovery Rules

It is a disadvantage to the ongoing play to have characters out of action for so long. We will move all recovery periods up to the next time period, with a minimum of days. ie: Season become Month, Month becomes Week, Week becomes Day.

However the characters must roll for every wound, not just one of the worst at their current level. This means that a character with 3 Light wounds must roll three times and track recovery for each wound. Confirm the season activities, and start the haggle of who gets what in the next seasons.

House Rules

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