or for those that do not like SJ games...http://stuff.mit.edu/afs/sipb/user/dcltdw/ars-magica-4th-ed.pdfArs Magica and Mythic Europe. This is one of the best games ever in my opinion. It has one of the best magic systems ever produced for an RPG. It has a complex and rich background that is easy to use. It allows for normal or troupe style play (which I recommend). I have played this game in two short campaigns and a couple of one shots. Having played 3rd, 4th, and read 5th, I think 4th is the best of the set so far. Now you can get it for free. Lucky you.
Welcome to Ars Magica, and to the world of Mythic Europe. It is a place where the glories of the Classical world are dust and the promise of the Renaissance is yet to come. The time is the 13th century —1220 to be exact. Life is a struggle: wars and plagues stalk the land, the Church and kings rule with an iron fist. Yet Mythic Europe is also a place of magical wonder, inhabited by all the creatures of folktale and myth. What the folk of the land believe holds true: faeries and rural spirits must be placated; demons corrupt everything they touch; divine power is accessible through prayer; and magic is everywhere.
Against this background, you will play a magus, a member of the mythical Order of Hermes. You and your fellow players will also portray the loyal companions and grogs that stand with the magi in their covenants. These stalwart protectors provide a buffer between the magi and the mundane world that often misunderstands their power and motives. This is the setting for Ars Magica.
The award-winning first edition of Ars Magica set the benchmark for magic in fantasy roleplaying. It pioneered the storytelling style of roleplaying that has become so popular today. Its setting, Mythic Europe, sparked the imaginations of fantasy fans and history enthusiasts alike. The 272-page fourth edition introduced improved systems in several key areas such as combat, character advancement, and covenant generation. This version of the game retained and improved upon Ars Magica's powerful and flexible magic system —widely regarded as the best rules for magic in all of gaming. Ars Magica Fourth Edition also remained fully compatible with the game's previously released supplements. Ars Magica won the Gamer's Choice Award for Best Fantasy Roleplaying Game of 1988; the fourth edition was nominated for the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Rules of 1996.