I won’t get much more done tonight (missed on my Nerd move and agreed to go out drinking instead) but I wanted to share what I’ve got so far on my Ars Magica hack.
The first question I struggled with was: What makes Ars Magica, Ars Magica? While there are many things about the system itself that I love, my goal here is to capture the essence, not the mechanics. With that in mind, I came up with this list:
The Gift (Twilight, Longevity Ritual)
The Order of Hermes (and the Houses)
Covenants (Companions, Grogs)
Magic (Spontaneous Casting in any combination of technique + form; Formulaic Magic that is less flexible but more consistent)
Laboratory (Rituals, Magic Item creation, Research)
Politics (Order, Covenant, Feudal, Church)
My instinct is that each house should have its own playbook.
The game will centre around the Covenant, so each character will bring something to the Covenant as part of character creation.
Most mechanics will be defined at the wizard level, but I plan to make sure companions are still relevant.
While there is a lot I like about DW, as Tim Franzke pointed out, AW may prove to be even more central to the hack.
Many lab rules can be cribbed from the Savvyhead.
Grogs can be defined using a combination of rules from the Chopper, Hardholder and Hocus.
There’s obviously a ton of work yet to be done, but I’m feeling pretty positive about these first steps.
Let me know what you think!