So, a first sketch.

Assuming a con slot is two hours, a group of 6 gives each poerson about 20 minutes of spotlight time. That’s 2 scenes.  Ths means that I need to express some of the cool things that can be done in the game with 12 distinct scenes, each of which plays to the strengths of a particular player character.

So, six things of awesomeness which PCs can do.

Magic. That’s awesome.  Maybe even two or three kinds of magic.  It’s Ars Magica. Magic awesome is our basic awesome.

Social skills. Diplomacy is the thing magi can’t do.

Combat skills?

Criminal skills?

No, I want to shift out the combat skills.  Magi have combat skills and I want one of the magi to be allowed to really cut lose and break things.   So I think I want to add a sort of grifter character in.

Great, OK. So, let’s lay the thing out.

The characters are members of a covenant on the southern coast of modern Spain. The elder magi have gone off to Gibraltar and fought some Sahir. The yhave been defeated and killed. A member of their war party escapes, and stops at the covenant for one night before heading back to Flambeau central to warn them things are going to get nasty on the Costa del Sol.

He says: this place is not defensible, and they probably know about it. Time to grab everything of value and head for the hills, young magi, because if you stay here, you are going to die.

The charactees get a tip that there’s  magically occluded island off the north east tip of Spain.  The Tin Isles.  The Romans used to trade with them. Then Siutational Problem hapened and they vanished.  If they can get there, and resolve the problem, then they’ll be safe.

So the three magi and their three companions need to grab all of the stuff of value in the town and get out of Dodge.

The players are given a list of the stuff the characters own, and decide what to take or leave, and this tells them what tonnage of ships they will need.

The magi need to hire a flotilla of ships without telling anyone a Moorish wizard war party is coming.  Or they can steal the ships. They then need to load heaps of stuff without anyone realising what’s going on.

The fleet sails. It needs to get past the Gibraltar blockade, or it can fight its way through.

A ship gets stuck fast to an undersea rock which has pierced its hull. What sponts can the magi cobble together to fix this?

The magi arrive at the island and need to establish themselves. The group whiteboards out.

The island’s big bad sends minions on a raid.

The characters scout out the big bad’s position, then attack, or send diplomats.  Or both.


9 replies on “Scratchpad

  1. I tend to consider a convention slot to be four hours, but 3.5 once we’ve handed things out, done introductions, answered basic questions and set the scene. At least that’s how we’ve viewed it when I was writing for the RPGA.

    I think that means more time per person, and more complex scenes.



  2. I would note that magi can do diplomacy, but it requires the Gentle Gift or the Mentum hammer, either might make for an interesting twist to the group. Showing how much domination or coercion is possible might be just as awesome as letting loose the boom.

    I think you need to set the scene in a more detailed manner for the landfall– perhaps provide a partial ruined structure that they can *kind of* reinforce, or a small cave system, maybe a beach of shipwrecks… something that establishes the space they can work with. You don’t want a convention GM scratching his head and thinking, “Huh. Sure, you could land there. Now, what’s there? *shuffle*shuffle*shuffle*”

    Then you’ve got established encounter events based on locations, which means it’s easier to run and faster for better play.

    Just my input.



    1. I know that Gentl yGifted magi can do diplomacy: that’s my specific reason for not including a gently gifted magus.

      In an intro scenario, you don’t give people the full palate of choices. It’s too confusing for people. Ther Gentle Gift’s main function, structurally, is to make whole classes of companions unnecessary, so it’s not useful in an introductory scenario.

      The idea of a preexisting strucutre’s a good one. I just need to do a bit more research on the Tin Islands after I finish my vacation, to see if there’s anything distinctive in that set of folklore that can be used.


      1. 😀 I know you know, I guess that was me thinking out loud.

        Very good point about the Gentle Gift obviating a whole class of companions, and we do want to show a more stock group, don’t we?

        I think for intro magi, some suggested spontaneous spells might not be a terrible plan, too, but maybe a few that create the same effect in different ways, just to get people in the mindset.


        1. I’m going to do something like the Nobilis miracle menu for each character, so you will have a set of spont spells classified like this:

          Roll required: 5
          Do X,
          Do Y
          Do Z.

          Roll required: 8
          Do A,
          Do B
          Do C.

          and so on…


  3. Situational problem might be:

    A nonhermetic sahir and his band of pirates and Jinn showed up. Socking up the place and using it as a pirate base.

    Unseelie Fae may have taken over the island– goblins in mines, Faeries acting as the Evil Overlord, trying to maintain a conquering tyrant story, awaiting defeat and liberation.

    Infernal cultists have taken over the islands. They eat anyone who arrives. The cover story they were told is just that, a cover story. Now, avoid the stew pot! Oh, and the demons.

    I don’t know if we’d want to really do a Divine antagonist, but a lost Crusader who might be convinced to help could be a cool optional encounter, or a missionary saint/hermit.

    I think it might be cooler if the choice of items to take with the magi then influences the options at landfall.


    1. I think I have an idea for it, but I’m away from my books, so can’t check the finer points.

      My key goal here is to express the non-generic nature of Ars monsters, to contrst them with the creatures in other games.


      1. I think you can do that with the Jinn the sahir might have, or the variety of fae or demons. Especially if you play with the demonstrated … durability? of some of these different foes.


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