Ars Magica Fifth Edition Press Release

Atlas Games
885 Pierce Butler Route - Saint Paul, Minnesota 55104 - USA
Phone 651-638-0077 - Fax 651-638-0084 - Email

For Immediate Release
August 19, 2004

Atlas Games Announces
Ars Magica(tm) Fifth Edition

Atlas Games is pleased to announce details of the long-awaited Fifth Edition of Ars Magica.
Ars Magica ("The Art of Magic") is the award-winning roleplaying game by Jonathan Tweet and Mark Rein·Hagen that focuses on wizards who are as powerful as those we know from legend and literature; in the land of Mythic Europe, those legends are real. The rules encourage players to develop their characters over long periods of time, and make the covenant -- the home base of the characters -- central to the stories. Troupe-style roleplaying allows players to take on the roles of multiple characters, so that the players have equal access to power even though the characters do not.
This new edition is rewritten to improve the rules for existing players, and to be more attractive and accessible to new audiences. It features all-new graphic design, two-color interior printing, hardcover binding, and a special introductory price.
Line Developer David Chart has been working on the new edition for the past two years. It has gone through extensive playtesting over the past year; this has easily been the most playtesting any edition of the game has received before publication. Playtest groups have included seasoned Ars Magica veterans as well as players who had no previous experience with the game. We are confident, from the feedback we've been getting, that the game will appeal to both.

Promotional Plans

Here are just a few ways that Ars Magica 5th Edition is being promoted:
  • The free PDF version of Ars Magica 4th Edition, available at, has increased awareness of the Ars Magica property and lowered the barrier for newcomers to start playing the game. As of today, it has been downloaded more than 18,600 times. We do not plan to make 5th Edition available as a free download; we will continue to offer the 4th Edition PDF for free, and encourage players to "upgrade" to the new and improved paper version at their local game store.
  • Special pricing through the end of the year through all sales channels will promote rapid acceptance of the new edition. (More on this below.)
  • An all-new color poster map of Mythic Europe, the setting of Ars Magica, will double as a promotional brochure giveaway to advertise the new edition.
  • At least one full-color, full-page ad will appear in Dragon magazine (the November issue).
  • Our web page will feature previews and teasers to talk up the new edition before release, and energize the base of existing fans to purchase the game for themselves and to encourage their fellow players to upgrade. Point your browser at and watch that space for additional material in the coming months.

$25 Introductory Price

Ars Magica Fifth Edition will be hardcover, 240 pages, with two-color interior printing, and from the release in November until the end of 2004 we will be selling it at the special introductory price of $25.00 (US).
Our primary goal is to encourage existing, active players to upgrade to the new edition immediately. These players and their ongoing games are an important source of future new players (and purchasers), and a vital market for the supplements that will follow the new edition. Secondarily, many people who have downloaded the free 4th Edition have told us they are awaiting the new edition; we want a price that will encourage them to follow through (and to do so before they miss out on the special price).

Changes to the Game

Veteran Ars Magica players are clamoring to know what is new and different about 5th Edition. Here are some of the rules change highlights:
  • Magic resistance has been changed so that the Parma Magica is actually the defense it's always been said to be.
  • The Laboratory rules have been streamlined and unified around a single core mechanic -- the spell invention mechanic from earlier editions.
  • The spell guidelines have been cleaned up, clarified, and made as consistent as possible.
  • The combat rules have been completely rewritten so that armor and shield grogs are more useful.
  • The introduction to Mythic Europe has been rewritten to provide information that's immediately useful in play.
  • Character creation has been revised to create characters, including magi, at any age, and to create characters of similar power to those advanced through play.
Supplements & Support

There is already an enormous library of Ars Magica supplements in our catalog, and we will continue to sell them. As a rule, we expect older sourcebooks to be usable with the new edition, and we expect them to continue to sell (just as many 3rd edition books remained strong sellers throughout the life of 4th Edition). It will be some years before there are 5th Edition replacements for many of these books.
Roughly speaking, we plan to release four major supplements per year for Ars Magica. Most of the first year of support for Fifth Edition is already written and in playtesting or editing. Here are some of the books in development.

The Fallen Fane (Already Available): This is a systemless Live Action scenario booklet, but its trade dress conforms to 5th Edition.

The Broken Covenant of Calebais (Revised) (November 2004): This updated version of the original Ars Magica scenario will be available for sale simultaneously with the release of 5th Edition.

Guardians of the Forest: The Rhine Tribunal (expected January 2005): This book describes the heartland of the Order of Hermes, home to the covenant where it all began. More importantly, it is intended as a guide to running sagas in Mythic Europe -- where Calebais is a model for the adventure, Guardians of the Forest will be a model for the game as played over many sessions, and months or years of real time.

Houses of Hermes: True Lineages (expected April 2005): The book Houses of Hermes, published by Wizards of the Coast, has been one of the game's top selling supplements as long as we've owned it, but it will soon be out of print. Since the Order of Hermes is at the heart of the game, we need to replace it, but we want to offer players something meatier. We are thus planning a series of Hermetic sourcebooks for players, each one focusing on several houses with a common theme. The first, True Lineages, covers houses Guernicus, Mercere, Tremere, and Bonisagus.

The Divine (title not yet determined): Our intention is to publish one Realm book each year, covering one of the major powers of Mythic Europe -- the Divine, the Infernal, Magic, and Faerie. First up will be the Divine -- the most powerful force in Mythic Europe -- covering such topics as saints, angels, miracles, holy powers, relics, and much more.

The Mysteries (Revised): The Mysteries was one of the most popular books we published for 4th Edition, and is being revised for the 5th Edition.

Ars Magica 5th Edition Vital Statistics

Stock Number: AG0205, ISBN: 1-58978-070-1, MSRP: $25.00 (US) - through Dec. 31, 2004, Format: 240 pages, hardcover binding, two-color interior printing, Release: November 2004

For Additional Information Contact: John Nephew, President, Atlas Games
telephone 651-638-0077, e-mail

1 comment:

  1. Great news! Can I suggest that a sample magus be posted, since the game is about wizards. Having a sample character called "Gerard the boring" isn't very inspiring...