Monday, December 21, 2009

Ars Magica and DragonQuest, same kind of fantasy?

I today sat down and read through the "Fourth book of DragonQuest" AKA Arcane Wisdom. It once again brought forth the feeling I had when I read the 2nd ed rulebook, that this game is made for some more faery tale fantasy. Don't ask me why, but for some reason I get the vision of dark woods, gingerbread houses and monstrous animals when I read DQ.

One reason I once liked Ars Magica was Mythic Europe. The idea of a mediaval Europe where all the legends were true sounded like an excellent world of adventure. Having generated dozens of characters for everything from 2nd to 5th ed, and playing a few sessions I realized that Ars Magica is a game that bores me to tears. It sounds good but is unfun. I still like the idea, though.

I wonder if DragonQuest could be a game that could do Mythic Europe justice? Hmmm.


  1. I have had good fun using both systems for different settings than intended.

    I would be interested to read of your attempts at that. :)

  2. Considering how hard it seem to be to get a gaming group like I want them, enthusiastic and ready to play different things often, I don't know when. But, we will see.

  3. I though DQ was the cat's meow once upon a time, but I found it to be a game that "bored me to tears" as well. Some aspects DO give you an excellent "taste" of fantasy, but other parts failed for me: the Adventurer's Guild where folks of different races freely mingle is distinctly Un-Mythic Europe, and I didn't like cash for training/advancement (there really was an emphasis on earning silver pennies in the game), nor the commonness of spell-casters.

    However, maybe you can infuse DQ with more imagination than I was able to...I've known folks that adored it.

  4. Oh yes. there are droves of people who adore it, and even reading it I'm not sure I see why. This vague feeling of mine when DQ seem to invoke the fantastic is hard to shake, though.

  5. I'm sorry to read that Ars Magica has bored you in the past. I've been playing it for years with various groups (currently with the same group for the last seven years - which I've only just realised!) and we've had huge success and fun with it. I think, like most games, it comes down to the group you play the game with and what you all want to get out of it. I think our trick with it has always been to invest in the characters and put them first, exploring if not their own stories then stories that touch upon their interests. It's one of the many things that the Fifth Edition got right, the stressing of story hooks as apply to characters and covenants.

    I hope you return to the game and give it another go. It's such a rich setting that you can really play it any way you want to and with the level of support the game is getting at the moment there's no better time to take a fresh look.


  6. Well, I feel not great regrets. I have many settings unexplored so there's no shortage. Ars Magic always turned out to be way to much about the Covenant, and I guess it'd not exactly surprising. Maybe it just wasn't what I wanted. Mythic Europe do have potential, that's why I still think of it sometimes. I haven't had the time to do more reading of DQ, though.


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