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. Starting with Third Edition, the term "grog" also includes other supporting characters, such as servants and craftsmen, who work for the magi.
Difference from Other Character Types
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.
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).
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
There are many more grog templates in the Grogs book.
Borrowing a little from past editions, we can add some more concepts:
- Archer (ArM4, p. 29; ArM3, p. 35)
- Beggar (ArM4, p. 29; ArM3, p. 34)
- Cook (ArM4, p. 30; ArM3, p. 33)
- Point Guard (ArM4, p. 30; ArM3, p. 34)
- Sentry (ArM4, p. 30; ArM3, p. 36)
- Scout (ArM4, p. 30; ArM3, p. 32)
- Manservant/Handmaiden (ArM4, p. 30; ArM3, p. 35)
- Shield Grog (bodyguard) (ArM4, p. 30; ArM3, p. 31)
- Stablehand (ArM4, p. 30; ArM3, p. 32)
- Turb Sergeant (ArM4, p. 30; ArM3, p. 33)
Fan-Created Grog Concepts
Please add your own ideas.
- Bumbling Sidekick
- Green Recruit
- Urban Spy
- Master of Hounds
The Term "Grog"
Unofficial Explanations of the Term
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!
Grogs in Past Editions
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. In ArM2, they were allowed a single 1-point Virtue and Flaw. The 3-point limit was introduced in ArM3.
- Ars Magica Revised Edition, p. 13, "Grogs"
- Ars Magica Third Edition, p. 29, "Grogs"
- Ars Magica Fourth Edition, p. 13, "Grogs"
- Ars Magica Fifth Edition, p. 17, "Grogs"
- Covenants, pp. 43-47
- Covenants, p. 53, "The Virtuous Hound"
- Covenants, p. 54, "The (Over) Familiar Cat"
- Grogs, p. 6, "The Term 'Grog'"
- Ars Magica (First Edition), p. 13, "Exceptional Attributes"
- Ars Magica Revised Edition, p. 16, "Virtues & Flaws"
- Ars Magica Third Edition, p. 51, "Maximum Number of Flaw Points" (inset)
The history of this page before August 6, 2010 is archived at Legacy:grog