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Ars Magica adaptation to Savage Worlds
This adaptation doesn’t want to replicate the mechanics of Ars Magica. Instead it tries to use the rules of Savage Worlds as much as possible.
It could be possible to create a more faithful conversion, up to maintain the whole magic system of Ars Magica converting only its effects to Savage Worlds, but I think that would change too much the spirit of Savage Worlds.
As in Ars Magica, the adventures will occur on a yearly basis. Magi ages slowly thanks to longevity rituals, but I think that they will die earlier than their Ars Magica versions, and they will spend less time in laboratory, so the pace of adventures can be a little faster than in Ars Magica.
This document assumes you know the rules of Ars Magica.
Here it is:
Every hermetic magus is a member of a race, that gives the following benefit and hindrances:
The Gift (major hindrance): -2 at all social reactions with humans or animals. Not trusted and feared by anyone, even his parents and family.
Arcane background: Magic. With the Dynamic backlash setting rule and a modified backlash, see later the Twilight. Also, a magus can use powers he doesn't have, but the PP needed to use them are doubled. And, the magus can use vis (see below) as its own Power Points.
Artificer, with the following changes: the Power Points invested in the device are not lost by the magus. Instead the magus must set in the device as much vis (of the appropriate types for the trapping of the power, see below) as the PP of the power, that will become a PP storage and fuels the device. After being used, this PP will recharge one point every day when resting in a magical aura (see below), or may be recharged using vis. A magus can put more PP in the device than needed for the power, to act as a PP reserve for it. The magus can put in the device powers he doesn't know, but he must count them as costing double the PP for the sake of accumulating them and consuming vis (but the device will have only the basic amuont stored in it). To complete the device, the magus must roll Spellcasting every season, and must accumulate as much successes and raises as the total vis to be set in the device. He cannot set in the device more vis than its Spellcasting die type.
Also, every magus must choose a house. The houses and their benefits are:
Bjornaer: Heartbeast - as an action can take the shape of an animal, retaining his intelligence as the Shape Change power. Can't bind familiars.
Bonisagus: has two free increments, all in Spellcasting or all in Persuasion.
Criamon: The Enigma - every time the magus rolls 2 or 12 on the backlash table he gets to roll to increment its PP as if he studied one season in the laboratory, with a +1 for every point of vis used in the power. Alternativelly, if used, he can get one Conviction point.
Ex miscellanea: magi that comes from exotic traditions. Agree with the master on his magic, it would have a major magical defect (hindrance) and a minor magical advantage, plus a non-magical advantage (Edge).
Flambeau: Magical Focus with trapping fire or destruction.
Guernicus: +1 Persuasion with other magus, plus the Quaesitor edge (see below).
Jerbiton: two free advancement in skills chosen from: Academics, Common Knowledge, Persuasion, Science.
Mercere (true magus, for those non-magical see later): Magical Focus with trappings of creation or transformation.
Merinita: Faerie Magic - gets +2 bonus from faerie auras. Can learn faerie spells (master's call). Has more or less faerie blood and features, so he could have a racial-like ability, up to 1 or 2 points, with correspondingly hard to hide features like cat ears, glowing eyes, claws, leaf growing in hairs or little tails.
Tremere: +1 in all rolls made in Certamen.
Tytalus: edge Strong Willed.
Verditious: Verditious magic - when creating arcane devices, can discount 2 vis from the total (to a minimum of one) for the sake of accumulating successes and spending vis (but the device will have the full quantity of vis storage). To cast spells they need small items to channel their magical energy. They build them when they earn the power.
Non-magical Mercere are companions, that has to buy a Redcap social edge that gives them the full magus status, and the possession of a 3 PP enchanted item.
Vis: vis is solidified magical energy. It will be of many types, according to the types of trappings of powers. Additionally there
is Vim vis, for the magical energy itself. It can be used as a jolly, for any other type. Consuming a pawn (a unit) of vis gives one PP
to be channeled in powers or in recharging enchanted items.
Powers and trappings: keeping in mind the above paragraph, choose trappings of powers congruent with that of vis. That can be inspired by Ars Magica Arts, or not.
Magi spend all their year in laboratory and magical activities. Every season they can do one of the following:
gather vis, as much as the covenant disponibility; every magus for an equal part. This activity can be performed only once every year, necessarily in spring;
create enchanted items, talismans or bind familiars, the preferred season is summer (but can be any season);
study to increment its Power Points. Every season of study in the laboratory with texts and other appropriate support, the magus rolls his Spellcasting. If he do more than his current Power Points total, they get one Power Point more. The master can give +1 or +2 to the roll if the condition are favorable: more than good books as usual, an apprentice, teachers, studying (and consuming) different types of vis, high aura or mistical places.
perform the longevity ritual, can be done only once each year, necessarilly in winter.
Longevity ritual: a magus under the effect of the ritual is considered as having half his age. The ritual costs every year as much vis (of types appropriate to the magical peculiarities of the magus) as the tens of the part of the age
ignored (so at 63 the magus is considered having 31 years, at the cost of 3 vis). The ritual lasts one year. At the first ritual the magus becomes forever sterile.
Talisman: is an edge, see later.
Familiar: a new edge, see later.
Regio and auras: magical auras give +2 to Spellcasting and to resistance from effects of other realms, a faerie aura +1, an infernal -1
and a divine -2. Beings of other realms get complementary bonuses and maluses.
Certamen: it's a comparison of Spellcasting rolls, in which magi create illusions that battle each other. The master will judge how the combat
is conducted, and how much the trappings and actions choosen adhere with the peculiarities of the magic of every magus, and adapts to the flaws and peculiarities of the opponent, assigning
bonus accordingly. Every success inflicts one level of fatigue.
Twilight: in addition to the standard effect of 2 in the backlash table, the magus enters for a moment (of game time) in the realm of magic. When Seasoned,
the time becomes one turn. At Heroic it will be two minutes, at Veteran two hours, at Legendary until the next down or sunset. After Legendary,
the master can, judging on the potency of the effect and the advancement above legendary of the magus, lengthen the time in Twilight to the next
new or full moon, the next season, the next year, seven years or even Final Twilight. Using vis can also lengthen the time in twilight, doubling the duration for a single pawn, tripling it if 3 pawns, quadruple if 6 pawns and maybe more. Also with 12 the magus enters Twilight, but always for a
Covenant: the magi has just established a covenant, a closed and robust building, that has enough space for all its inhabitants, including
laboratories and common and working rooms. Apart from magi and companions, there are 3 fighting grog and 3 common grogs (built as extras) for each player, plus
common servitude. The covenant is built in a zone with a magical Aura. Under the control of the covenant there are a total of 2 pawns worth
of vis of the non-Vim type, and 2 pawns of Vim vis, per magus per year. The covenant is protected by the Aegis of the Hearth, an enchantment cast on
something inside the walls every year, that protects the covenant: every spell cast from the outside and every non-mundane being will be
rejected (master's call) unless permitted by the magi.
Grogs: are allies of all the PCs. Build them as Soldiers in the bestiary, adapted to reflect the grog type. When in adventure, each player that does not control the magi or the companion are assigned a group of grogs, and receive a card in combat for all his grogs. Command edges can be used by magus or companion for all grog groups. Grogs advance as any other Ally.
Aging: at age 45 every character gains the Elderly hindrance. In addition to the standard malus, the Elderly hindrance gives additional
malus when the character reach age 60: the -1 malus applies now to every roll, the Pace is halved instead of the -1, and every strenuous action
(like running more than some seconds, lift heavy objects or do athletics and such) require a Vigor test to avoid a permanent injury rolled on
the Injury table (interpreting the results as the effect of aging, so the Brain Damage as an ictus).
Experience: in Ars Magica the experience progression tends to be slow, as adventures tends to happen on a yearly base. So Savage Worlds increments should follow this pattern. How much advancement depends on how long the campaign will last, up to a full length campaign that will span a century in which there will be an increment every 1, 2 or maybe 3 years.
Magic resistance of creatures: Magic Might has to be converted in some sort of Arcane Resistance: it gives -2, -4 or so and also reduce magical damage.
Follows optional hindrances and edges for magi.
Hindrances for magi (with arcane background: magic):
Blatant gift: Minor, the social malus of The Gift is -4.
Careless sorcerer: Minor, the magus do a critical failure also with double 2.
Chaotic magic: Major, rolls on the Backlash table are at -1 (but a 12 remains 12).
Clumsy magic: Minor, consider all rolls to hit with magic reduced by 1.
Cycling magic, negative: Minor, your magic is attuned to some cycle of nature and is less potent at specific times. You have a -1 penalty to Spellcasting during that time. The length of time during which you are at a disadvantage must be equal to the time when there is no penalty.
Deficient art: Minor, -2 to roll on powers with a specific trapping.
Deleterious circumstances: Minor, -2 Spellcasting under certain uncommon circumstances. This can be your state, such as sitting or wet, the target of the magic, such as wild animals or iron, or the place where you are casting the magic, such as a city or high up a mountain.
Flawed parma magica: Minor, Arcane protection give only +1 bonus.
Hedge wizard: Minor, because of your esoteric magic, other magi distrust you, and more importantly, grant you no respect. -2 to all pacific social interactions with magi.
Incompatible arts: Minor, you cannot use powers with a combination of an element and an action, such as create fire or transform plants or destroy flesh.
Infamous master: Minor, -2 on all pacific social interactions with magi.
Limited magic resistance: Minor, Arcane resistance does not grant its bonus against powers with a specific trapping.
Magic addiction: Major, if the magus uses a power without getting a raise, he has to use another spell the turn after, and again and again.
Necessary condition: Minor, In order for your magic to work, you must perform a specific action while casting any spell. This should be something simple, such as singing or spinning around three times. If you cannot perform the action, you cannot cast spells at all.
Painful magic: Major, even if the magus succeeds in using a power, he goes shaken, unless scoring a raise.
Poor formulaic magic: Major, -2 to Spellcasting rolls, if not preparing for a turn before.
Restriction: Major, You cannot cast spells at all under certain uncommon conditions. These might refer to your state, such as touching the earth directly or having no beard, or to the target, such as birds or glass, or to your location when you use the magic, such as on a small boat or in a storm.
Rigid magic: Major, You cannot use more than 2 points of vis when you cast spells.
Short-lived magic: Minor, you cannot maintain powers.
Short-ranged magic: Minor, spell ranges are halved.
Study requirement: Minor, You are unable to study magic from books or vis alone. You must study in the presence of a large quantity of the appropriate element. For example, you need to sit next to a brook or pond, or a large fire.
Susceptibility to divine power: Minor, Divine auras give double penalty.
Susceptibility to faerie power: Minor, Faerie auras give -1 instead of a bonus.
Susceptibility to infernal power: Minor, Infernal auras gives double penalty.
Unpredictable magic: Major, if the roll to use a power is lower than required by 1, the power goes off but with strange effects, wrong targets or something similar. The effects are often annoying or harmful.
Warped magic: Minor, Your magic is accompanied by some unpleasant side effect that always manifests itself the same way. Examples include nearby items become hot or nearby plant matter becomes shriveled and wilted. This effect may cause trouble from time to time, but is usually just annoying.
Waster of vis: Major, When you use vis you need one point extra.
Weak enchanter: Minor, when creating enchanted items the magus counts the PP cost as 1 higher.
Weak magic: Minor, every magic resistance (Arcane resistance or similar effects) counts as doubled for the magus.
Weak magic resistance: Minor, arcane resistance does not function under relatively common circumstances which are fairly easy for an opponent to utilize, such as when you are wet or facing away from the caster of the spell.
Weak parens: Major, the magus starts with one less power than usual.
Diedne magic: Minor, the magus descends from the Diedne magical tradition, so has to maintain the secret or risk processes and radiation from the order (not mentioning a Wizard march).
Edges for magi (with arcane background: magic):
Quaesitor (Veteran or house Guernicus): the magus is a judge of the order, with all the benefits and drawbacks. He gets +1 to Persuasion rolls with magi.
Enchanted item (Novice): you have one or more enchanted items of up to 5 PP capacity. This edge must be approved by the GM, as it will be probably only availeable to companions, and only at character creation, since the acquisition of enchanted items during games will be roleplayed.
Power (those with an asterisk can be taken only at character creation):
Magical Focus (Novice): +1 to Spellcasting rolls with powers of a specific trapping. This edge can be taken more than once for different trappings.
Improved Magical Focus (Veteran): the bonus of a Magical Focus edge is now +2.
Familiar (Seasoned): an animal becomes intelligent (the smaller the smarter) and a Wild Card. The animal and the magus can understand each other's talking and he can enchant it like an enchanted item (master's ruling of what type of spells are suitable) with any number of enchantments.
Talisman (novice): an object becomes the magus' only talisman. It will grant a bonus to spellcasting powers of one or more specific trappings, appropriate to the shape and material of the talisman. The sum of all bonuses cannot exceed the magus Spellcasting die type divided by four (rounded down), and also the talisman's materials has to be rare and precious to grant a +2 or +3 bonus to a single trapping. So, for +1 the magus can probably find the right matherial with only a minimum effort and research. For +2 he would probably have to travel distances and bargain favors or having some other troubles to find the right components. Finding the substances for a +3 will surelly be possible only with a specific adventure. The talisman can also be enchanted as an arcane device, with any number of powers.
Elemental Magic (Novice *): you can freely exchange the trapping of your fire, air, water and earth trappings' power between those four trappings. So you can cast a power like a fire bolt also as a lightning or a water jet.
Flexible Formulaic Magic: (Novice *): the total of all power modifiers applied adds 1 PP less, up to a minimum of 1.
Gentle Gift (Novice *): the magus does not have the social malus of the gift when interacting with other peoples and is quite well tollerated.
Life-Linked Spontaneous Magic (Novice *): the magus can ignore up to 5 points of PP cost of a spell gaining a wound.
Mercurian Magic (Novice *): the magus can cast spells with the aid of other magus. This takes one minute of preparation per PP needed. One of the magus is elected the caster, and obtains +1 to his roll for every other magus participating, up to the PP cost of the spell.
Cautious Sorcerer (Novice *): when the magus has to roll on the backlash table, if he does not use vis he does not have to roll but instead rolls a d6 and if that dice rolls 4+ he goes shaken.
Cyclic Magic (Novice *): your magic is attuned to some cycle of nature and is more potent at specific times. You have a +1 bonus to Spellcasting during that time. The length of time during which you are at an advantage must be equal to the time when there is no penalty.
Fast Caster (Novice *): the multiaction penalty of the casting actions is reduced by one point.
Inoffensive to Animals (Novice *): animals (and even plants, if applicable) are not threatened by you, and rather are attracted by your aura. You do not have the penalty with non-humans in social situations but have instead a +1 bonus.
Lab rat (Novice *): you count as having an additional summer season.
Mastered Spells (Vetran, Spellcasting d10+): you have +1 to Spellcasting rolls with a specific power. This edge can be taken more than once, one for each power.
Puissant Art (Novice *): you have +1 to Spellcasting rolls with powers of a specific trapping.
Quiet Magic (Novice *): you can use powers with minimal or no gestures and words.
Side Effect (Novice *): all your powers have a similar side effect that is somewhat favorable to you. Your magic may be accompanied by a pleasant scent that puts others in a good mood, or you can be surrounded by a faint light that helps find the way.
Skilled Parens (Novice *): you had good parens. You start the game with one more power.
Special Circumstances (Novice *): +2 to Spellcasting rolls under certain uncommon circumstances. This can be your state, such as sitting or wet, the target of the magic, such as wild animals or iron, or the place where you are casting the magic, such as a city or high up a mountain.
NOTE: this work is a draft, so if someone wants to leave comments or suggest something, it's appreciated.
In particular, I'm dubious on the necessity to use the No power points rule, and the ability to cast powers and make enchanted items the one doesn't knows.
You can use the form here, thank you.