Project: Redcap; the crossroads of the Order


The Mysteries

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The Mysteries
Cover illustration for The Mysteries
Product Information
Rules Edition: Fourth Edition
Product Type: Sourcebook
Author(s): Adam Bank and Jeremiah Genest
Publisher: Atlas Games
Product Number: AG0265
ISBN: 1-887801-89-8
Release date: 2000
Format: Softcover, 176 pages
Availability: Out of Print
PDF available

The Mysteries was a popular and rather innovative supplement for Fourth Edition. It introduced the concept of Mysteries, secret traditions or cults that taught powers different from Hermetic Magic.

The mystical traditions in The Mysteries were based on real-world legends, helping to build a bridge between the fictional Order of Hermes and real-world medieval Hermeticism. It was very well-received by the Fan Community.

This supplement was so popular, a revised edition of The Mysteries was one of the early products released for ArM5. The concept of Mysteries was worked into the core rules for Fifth Edition, through the introduction of Mystery Houses.

Relevance to Fifth Edition[edit]

The mechanics of The Mysteries are now considered outdated from the point of view of Fifth Edition. Mysteries in Fifth Edition work rather differently than they are portrayed in this book.

None the less, the actual mystery cults covered are somewhat different from those in the revised edition. Some storyguides may still find it useful as a source of ideas, although those ideas would require considerable adaptation to translate into Fifth Edition rules.

Player Reviews[edit]

Until about 2005, the original Ars Magica FAQ site solicited reviews of Ars Magica products from the community. The online review submission form is no longer available, but please feel free to edit this page to add your own comments. A synopsis of the survey results for this book is:

FAQ Rating: **** (16 reviews; 0 *, 1 **, 4 ***, 11 ****)

  • Very good: an excellent Storyguide idea resource, and a somewhat different view of the Order. I found its view of Hermetic magic slightly too rigid, however.
  • This a must-have if you want an Order over 1200 members.
  • Excellent stuff if you have the time and creativity to integrate it to your saga. For "experienced users," however.
  • The most used book on my Ars shelf. Details magical cults and societies, including new rules, spells, virtues, critters and sample NPCs.
  • Hard to get into, but once you do, hoo-boy! Expert-level Ars.
  • Difficult to read and suffers greatly from the lack of an index, but nonetheless a seminal work on individualizing magi and increasing their variety. Will definitely have a fundamental impact on the evolution of the game.
  • Great stuff, anchors ArM into real myth.
  • The One True Way to handle magic with a medieval feeling, the core of Ars Magica.
  • A classic, and should be considered essential.
  • Advanced Ars Magica that broke the developing genre boundaries.
  • I have to agree that this supplement is an important addition to an SG's library, especially with the anticipated wave of upcoming mystery-type magic. This sets the tone for the game's magic, which is different from every other wizardly rpg.
  • Adds tons of flavor, and moves ArM from its modernist high-fantasy leanings, albeit with post-medieval magic. Plays up mystical lineages and points a way to an ArM revamp.
  • Excellent. Packed full of goodness.
  • Excellent concepts, but wildly unbalanced game mechanics. Would get 4 splats from me if it were a stat-free book.

Related topics[edit]

  • The Mysteries was completely re-written for Fifth Edition as The Mysteries Revised Edition. Both the mechanics, and the magical traditions covered, are different. The Mysteries therefore has content that is not included in TMRE, though this content would need considerable work to adapt to the ArM5 rules.

External links[edit]

Legacy Page[edit]

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