Project: Redcap; the crossroads of the Order



From Project: Redcap

A grog can be any supporting character in an Ars Magica saga. In Second Edition and earlier, the term referred specifically to a warrior or bodyguard who works for a Magus or covenant.[1] Starting with Third Edition, the term "grog" also includes other supporting characters, such as servants and craftsmen, who work for the magi.[2][3][4]

Grogs are one of the three basic Character Types in Ars Magica: the other two are companions and magi.

Difference from Other Character Types[edit]

In ArM5, grogs are distinguished from Companions by both story rule and game mechanics (character-creation rules).

Story Role[edit]

Grogs in ArM5 are minor characters (p. 17). They most often are warriors who live at the Covenant and accompany the Magi on missions, but this is not a requirement. Any other, minor characters, such as the kitchen servants, a knight's retainers, or a youth's tutor, can be designed as grogs.

In troupe style play, grogs are not usually "owned" by any one player. Instead, they are kept in a common pool and chosen by players whenever their roles come into play.

Game Mechanics[edit]

In ArM5, grogs are restricted to Minor Virtues and Flaws (see ArM5, p.29) and may have up to three of each. They may not have the Gift, and neither may they have Story Flaws (ArM5, p. 28).

Design Tips[edit]

Note that, in ArM5, warrior grogs need some kind of Virtue or Flaw that allows them to learn Martial Abilities (i.e., weapon skills). Possibilities include Berserk (ArM5, p. 40), Custos (ArM5, p. 41), Knight (p. 44), Privileged Upbringing (p. 47), Warrior (p. 50), and Branded Criminal (p. 54).

Grog Concepts[edit]

ArM5 lists several grog templates (ready-to-play or ready-to-customize characters) on pages 21-22:

  • The Beserker
  • The Grizzled Veteran
  • The Hunter
  • The Specialist (the example given is specialized with a weapon)
  • The Standard Soldier
  • The Tough Guy
  • See also the grogs from Semita Errabunda

Covenants adds several others, mostly covenfolk rather than warriors.[5]. It also includes two fantastical covenfolk: a Magical, intelligent dog[6] and cat.[7]

There are many more grog templates in the Grogs book.

Borrowing a little from past editions, we can add some more concepts:

ArM2 and ArM1 didn't list specific grog templates.

Fan-Created Grog Concepts[edit]

Please add your own ideas.

  • Bumbling Sidekick
  • Green Recruit
  • Urban Spy
  • Master of Hounds
  • Sailor

The Term "Grog"[edit]

ArM2 mentions on page 13 that "[m]ercenaries hired by magi go by many names, the most popular of which is 'grog,' a slang term first used in the covenant of Doissetep."[1]

Grogs provides the official explanation of the origin of the term.[8]

Unofficial Explanations of the Term[edit]

One interpretation is that "grog" is a corruption of the French word grognard, or "grumbler." "Grognard" seems like a fitting nickname for warrior grogs -- or , for that matter, for players who enjoy playing grogs in combat.

I seem to remember that some long-ago book -- perhaps even ArM1 -- mentioned that grogs were named after their favorite beverage. However, I've been unable to find the reference (I lost my second-printing copy of ArM1; it doesn't seem to be in the first printing), so maybe it's apocryphal. In any case, the English word "grog" dates from the eighteenth century. A little anachronism can be fun!

--Andrew Gronosky

Grogs in Past Editions[edit]

The role and rules for grogs have evolved somewhat over the lifetime of Ars Magica.

Before ArM3, grogs were strictly warriors (and could learn combat Abilities without needing a special Virtue or Flaw).

In ArM1, grogs could not have Virtues and Flaws (which were then called "Exceptional Attributes") at all.[9] In ArM2, they were allowed a single 1-point Virtue and Flaw.[10] The 3-point limit was introduced in ArM3[11].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ars Magica Revised Edition, p. 13, "Grogs"
  2. Ars Magica Third Edition, p. 29, "Grogs"
  3. Ars Magica Fourth Edition, p. 13, "Grogs"
  4. Ars Magica Fifth Edition, p. 17, "Grogs"
  5. Covenants, pp. 43-47
  6. Covenants, p. 53, "The Virtuous Hound"
  7. Covenants, p. 54, "The (Over) Familiar Cat"
  8. Grogs, p. 6, "The Term 'Grog'"
  9. Ars Magica (First Edition), p. 13, "Exceptional Attributes"
  10. Ars Magica Revised Edition, p. 16, "Virtues & Flaws"
  11. Ars Magica Third Edition, p. 51, "Maximum Number of Flaw Points" (inset)

External links[edit]

As fans, CJ and Andrew Gronosky discuss the humble grog on the Arcane Connection (podcast) Episode 9: All About Grogs (31 minutes).

Legacy Page[edit]

The history of this page before August 6, 2010 is archived at Legacy:grog