Ars Magica 5e: Rules Summary, Part 2

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Magic

Using magic involves combining a Technique (verb) with a Form (noun).

Techniques

Creo (I Create)

Creo deals in ideal forms. Anything purely created is an ideal version of that thing. Creo can also be used to heal and mature things toward their ideal form (such as making a thing an exemplar of its kind).

Natural things (creatures, raw materials, etc.) have simple forms that are easier to create and use, while artificial things (crafts) have complex forms. Using Creo to create an artificial thing requires the mage to understand it and make an Int + Finesse roll to determine how good it is (the mage doesn’t need to be able to craft it in a mundane way, just have a decent sense of how it works).

Creo can only heal, mature, or improve things toward being an exemplar. Changing their fundamental nature is Muto and making them older past maturity is Perdo.

Created things that disappear after their duration ends leave behind logical results of having had existed (e.g., a created animal that lasted for a year leaves a corpse if it was eating real food). You cannot create a soul, but animals don’t have souls. Created things can only be permanent if created with raw vis.

Intellego (I Perceive)

Intellego gathers information from the form of a thing, and cannot be deceived by mundane disguises. However, demons are annoyingly immune (revealing only their deception).

Muto (I Transform)

Muto can change things about a subject beyond what is natural, but more extreme changes are harder to do. Permanent changes to a thing are only possible if they don’t violate its essential nature, and Muto generally always violates essential nature so must always be maintained. Creo, Perdo, and Rego can make permanent changes.

Perdo (I Destroy)

Perdo destroys or makes things worse. It can selectively remove a trait, but it’s easier if the thing could independently lose the property without magic (e.g., it’s easier to destroy someone’s limb than to remove his weight without harm).

Perdo degrades ideal forms, so cannot make something better through destruction, even if in nature damage can be considered as improving it (e.g., you cannot sharpen a sword with Perdo, because its ideal form is to be sharp). You cannot remove a negative (e.g., you cannot heal someone by removing a wound).

Rego (I Control)

Rego changes the state of something to another state it can naturally have. This can easily include many forms of movement (since things can have any location), but can also make natural changes (e.g., tree blossoms, person sleeps, stone is shaped into a statue, thread is woven into a tunic). It cannot make things young again (that would be Muto) nor old (that would be Perdo). It cannot change something into a state it could technically have, but would never in nature (e.g., turn a brown dog black). It can perform any kind of craft (with a Finesse roll).

Forms

In addition to governing using magic on the subject of the Form, each Form grants a bonus to rolls for a particular kind of resistance/soak (Form level/5 rounded up).

Animal (Animals)

Animals (not including humans); Bonus: Resist damage from animal attacks and poisons

Aquam (Water)

Water, liquids, and liquidity; Bonus: Resist drowning and thirst, damage from water impact

Auram (Air)

Air, wind, weather, and gaseous forms; Bonus: Resist suffocation (including drowning) and weather phenomena (such as lightning)

Corpus (Body)

Human bodies (including dead bodies and magical/fae creatures that look human); Bonus: Resist human unarmed attacks and diseases

Herbam (Plant)

Plants and trees (including dead plant matter like wood and linen); Bonus: Resist wooden weapons, herbal poisons, and starvation

Ignem (Fire)

Fire, heat, and light (as well as the opposite: cold and darkness); Bonus: Resist fire and cold

Imaginem (Image)

Sensory effects (i.e., illusions); Bonus: Resist confusion, deafening, or nausea caused by sensory effects

Mentem (Mind)

Minds, thoughts, and spirits (including the “bodies” of incorporeal beings like ghosts held together by will); Bonus: Resist mundane persuasion, deception, or temptation

Terram (Earth)

Solids, especially earth and stone; Bonus: Resist stone or metal weapons and mineral poisons

Vim (Power)

Raw magical power as well as magical, infernal, divine, and faerie creatures; Bonus: Resist Twilight, and damage inflicted by consequences of spellcasting (and is the default magic resistance form if no other form clearly applies)

Casting Spells

Basic Casting Rules

Roll a die (simple or stress, depending on circumstance) and add Technique + Form + Stamina + Modifiers (including bonuses from a magical aura and spell mastery).

Compare the result to the spell’s level. Different spell types (Formulaic, Ritual, or Spontaneous) have different exact results, but in general the target number of the roll is the spell’s Level. Usually, missing the target by 10 or less allows success at a cost of Fatigue, while exceeding the target number adds the margin of success to Penetration against Magic Resistance.

A spell’s Level / 5 (rounded up) is its Magnitude. Magnitude is used for various calculations.

Spell Type

Spells are Formulaic, Ritual, or Spontaneous.

Formulaic Magic

Formulaic Magic requires the mage to know the spell as a formula. It takes only a few seconds and has no modifiers to the basic casting rules. Missing the target by 10 or less means it is successful, but the caster takes one level of Fatigue and the margin of failure is subtracted from Penetration. Missing by more than 10 costs a level of Fatigue and the spell fails.

Ritual Magic

Ritual Magic requires the mage to know the spell as a formula (or to use “ceremonial casting” as described on page 83). It takes 15 minutes/Magnitude and allows the caster to add the Artes Liberales and Philosophia to the final casting total. The mage must also expend one pawn of vis per magnitude (which must match the technique or form of the spell and cannot exceed the caster’s totals in technique and form; e.g., Creo 4 Ignem 5 can use at most 9 pawns of vis—four Creo, five Ignem—and thus cannot cast a ritual of higher than Magnitude 9).

Rituals always use the stress die.

Rituals always cost at least one Fatigue, and add an additional Fatigue for every five points of the margin of failure, to a maximum of five Fatigue (a spell fails if you miss by 11 or more, and also costs four or five Fatigue). This Fatigue can only be regained by a good night’s sleep, and can roll over into damage.

Spontaneous Magic

Spontaneous Magic only requires the mage to have the proper Technique and Form to potentially cast the effect envisioned, but the mage need not know the formula for the spell. The mage can choose to take a level of Fatigue for the magic (which will be applied after it takes effect):

  • With the level of Fatigue, the casting total after rolling is divided by 2.
  • Without the level of Fatigue, the casting total after rolling is divided by 5.

Spontaneous effects can be open-ended, based on how well the roll goes, as long as the basic essentials can be bought first. For example, the mage can decide to create a bright light for at least a Sun’s duration. As long as the modified casting total is enough to create any kind of light for at least that duration, any additional margin of success can be spent to improve the brightness of the light or the duration, or its penetration.

Any modifiers that say they affect the “casting score” are added before dividing. Any modifiers that say they affect the “casting total” are added after dividing.

Penetration

The margin of success or failure of the spell added to the mage’s Penetration ability is the spell’s Penetration total. This total can be negative. The Penetration total must exceed the target’s Magic Resistance to be effective (see Magic Resistance, below), so negative scores may affect mundane individuals but usually not mages.

Arcane and Sympathetic connections can create a multiplier to the mage’s Penetration ability (before adding to the margin of the roll; see page 84).

Concentration

A distracted mage must roll Stamina + Concentration with the stress die to cast or maintain the spell (target number based on severity of the distraction). A spell that cannot be cast due to failing this roll still must check for a botch (with an extra botch die). See page 82 for concentration targets.

If an spell is meant to do something that normally requires concentration (e.g., talking to something or moving), that thing does not require concentration.

Options

Using Vis (All Spells)

Add pawns of vis to a casting for +2 casting score per pawn. As with ritual casting, the pawns spent this way are limited by the Technique and Form (and any pawns required by the ritual count against the maximum that can be spent to add +2, but do not add +2).

Each pawn of vis (used for a bonus or for the ritual) adds an additional botch die.

Words and Gestures (Formulaic and Spontaneous)

Spells are normally cast with a Firm voice and Bold gestures. Using Loud voice and Exaggerated gestures adds +1 each to the total. Using Quiet voice has a -5 penalty, and casting the spell silently has a -10 penalty. Using Subtle gestures has a -2 penalty, and casting the spell without gestures has a -5 penalty (-15 for a silent, still spell). Virtues may modify these penalties.

Fast Casting (Spontaneous or Mastered Formulaic)

Fast Casting cannot change the default words and gestures or most other options, because there is not time. Roll Quickness + Finesse (with a stress die). The target is generally the Initiative Total of the opponent you’re trying to pre-empt (failing the roll means it happens after the opponent’s action, and you may choose to not cast the spell). Fast cast spells have an additional -10 to the casting score and +2 botch dice.

If your Quickness + Finesses is good, you may make additional fast casts in a single round at a cumulative -6 penalty (with no further fast casts allowed after failing to beat the target once).

A primary use for fast casting is to defend against incoming spells. In many cases, the mage can identify the incoming effect automatically, but may make a Perception + Awareness + spell’s Magnitude roll against target 15 to identify even a subtle spell. Choose a Technique and Form that could logically counter the incoming spell: getting at least half the spell’s level is usually enough to protect the mage (or one other individual), while meeting or exceeding the level neutralizes it entirely. (You can do something similar to neutralize mundane threats, with the GM assessing the effective “level” of the threat).

Arcane Connections (All Spells)

Arcane connections allow a mage to cast a spell on a target outside of current sensory range. Arcane connections tend to expire over time, per the chart on page 84. An arcane connection can also improve Penetration through sympathy (also on page 84).

Magic Resistance

Mages have a base Magic Resistance equal to the most applicable Form to the incoming magic (minimum 0, since all Forms are at least 0), with Vim used if no other Form is applicable. If the mage has activated Parma Magica (takes two minutes to cast and lasts until sunrise/sunset), add the mage’s Parma Magica ability x 5 to the Magic Resistance total.

A mage may concentrate to lower all magic resistance, even while Parma Magica is active (to allow a spell to affect her). Unconscious mages cannot do this, so automatically have full magic resistance (including to beneficial spells attempting to help her). A mage must do this to not require self-affecting spells to have Penetration.

By taking a -3 penalty to Parma Magica (minimum 0), the mage may protect one other person per point in Parma Magica (e.g., two additional people at Parma Magica 2). The mage must stay within sight of the protected targets. All targets still add their applicable Form, if any, to resistance.

A mage is aware of a spell that has been stopped by magic resistance, but may not know if a spell has penetrated if its effects are not obvious.

Resistance stops spells affecting the mage, her clothing, and other very close objects. It does not dispel magic, but simply leaves the mage unaffected. The subtleties of what counts as a spell affecting the mage are explained on page 85. In general, a mage trying to create an effect that becomes natural by the time it gets to the target (and, thus, would not have to penetrate magic resistance) must make a Perception + Finesse roll to aim it.

Sigils

Every mage has a consistent sensory effect that accompanies her magic. This is never particularly useful or harmful to the intent of the magic, but is a signature that can be used to associate magic with the mage.

Spell Mastery

Each spell learned as formulaic magic has an associated Spell Mastery ability with three effects:

  • The ability level is added as a modifier to casting score for the spell
  • The ability level is subtracted from botch dice for the spell (and, in a situation that would normally use a simple die, allows the mage to use a stress die with no chance of botch)
  • Each level of the ability lets the mage choose one of the following special effects:
    • Fast Casting (can fast cast the spell as if spontaneous)
    • Magic Resistance (double resistance against the mastered or similar spells)
    • Multiple Casting (cast the spell individually on different targets; see page 87)
    • Penetration (add the ability level to Penetration in addition to casting score)
    • Quiet Casting (reduce quiet/silent voice penalties by 5; this can be taken twice)
    • Still Casting (remove the penalty for no gestures)
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Ars Magica 5e: Rules Summary, Part 1

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A friend is talking about running an Ars Magica game, and it turns out writing up a rules summary for a complex game system helps me as much as a player as it does as a GM. So here’s the first part of the big chunk of words I’ve spent lately condensing down the parts I might want to quickly refresh on during a session.

Basic System

Roll Simple or Stress die and add Characteristic + Ability. Try to meet or exceed target number (Ease Factor). Margin of success can grant increased effect. (Magic may add different number than Characteristic + Ability.)

Simple Die

Roll 1d10 (0 counts as 10). This is used for uncomplicated checks with no chance of critical failure or success.

Stress Die

Roll 1d10. 2-9 are counted normally.

0 counts as 0, not 10, and may indicate a botch. Roll a number of additional d10s as botch dice based on the risk of the situation (and possibly reduced by other factors). If any of these botch dice also roll 0, the roll is an automatic failure and a botch. If no botch dice come up as 0, the die roll just counts as 0 (so can potentially succeed if the flat add hits the target).

1 explodes. Reroll the die and multiply the rerolled die result (before adds) by 2. On rerolls, 0 counts as 10. If the reroll also rolls 1, reroll again and multiply the multiplier (x4 after the second 1, x8 after the third, etc.). For example, 1, then 1, then 5 means a final die result of 20.

Ease Factor

Targets range from 3 to 24, with 9 as Average.

Character Types

  • Hermetic Magi must take The Gift and an apprenticeship phase. The basic assumption is that they begin play shortly after apprenticeship (so an extensive later life phase indicates a late apprenticeship), but players may make more experienced magi at the GM’s approval, who take the after apprenticeship phase.
  • Companions may take The Gift, if desired, but cannot yet have been through an apprenticeship (they may become magi in play, if desired). They take the early childhood and later life phases only. They are recommended to be connected to the magi of other players, as you will not play your mage and your companion in the same session.
  • Grogs may not take The Gift. They may only take up to three points of Virtues and Flaws, and may only take minor Virtues and Flaws. Personality traits are most important for them (as they may be played by any player, so personality traits give guidance on what they should do), and it’s highly recommended that they have Loyalty and Bravery as two personality traits (to check what they do in a crisis). As with Companions, they take only early childhood and later life phases. They lack Confidence.

For troupe-style play, each player will usually make one Hermetic Mage, one Companion, and one or more Grogs. Any player’s Grogs may be played by other players (usually when they don’t have a mage or companion in the scene).

Character Creation

Magi Only: House and Apprenticeship Phases

All magi choose a single Hermetic House, which grants a bonus Virtue (which does not count against the 10 point limit or require a flaw). When generating Abilities, magi must take an apprenticeship phase (see below), and may take an after apprenticeship phase with the GM’s approval.

Virtues and Flaws

Characters start with 0 points to spend on Virtues and Flaws (though Mages receive a bonus Virtue from their House). Each minor Flaw taken awards one point to spend on Virtues, and each major Flaw awards three points. Likewise, minor Virtues cost one and major Virtues cost three. You can have a maximum of 10 points of Flaws (and, thus, 10 points of Virtues).

All characters must purchase a Social Status Virtue (and may have only one unless noted). Some Social Statuses cost 0 points (Covenfolk, Craftsman, Hermetic Magus, Merchant, Peasant, and Wanderer). See the Virtues and Flaws list for positive or negative statuses.

It is recommended that characters limit themselves to a single Story Flaw, to avoid overwhelming the GM with possibilities. Likewise, characters should have no more than two Personality flaws (only one of them Major) to avoid making a character that’s a bundle of neuroses.

You can only have up to five points of minor flaws (i.e., for the full 10 points of flaws, you must take two major and four minor flaws). You can’t take a flaw you can easily ignore/fix with magic.

Only characters with The Gift can take Hermetic Virtues and Flaws. Hermetics should take at least one Hermetic Flaw.

See the chapter starting on page 36 for lists of Virtues and Flaws.

Characteristics

All characters gain seven points to spend on Characteristics (and can gain more by taking some Characteristics negative). All Characteristics start at 0.

Characteristics cost/award their new level in points to increase, so cost or grant 1/3/6 total for 1/2/3. Characteristics cannot exceed +3 or -3 at character creation.

Magi are recommended to have a good Intelligence, Stamina, and Communication.

The Characteristics are: Intelligence (Int), Perception (Per), Strength (Str), Stamina (Sta), Presence (Pre), Communication (Com), Dexterity (Dex), Quickness (Qik)

Abilities

There are five types of ability: General, Academic, Arcane, Martial, and Supernatural. All characters must have particular Virtues to allow the purchase of non-General ability types during the early childhood and later life phases. Hermetic Mages may take Academic, Arcane, and Martial abilities from apprenticeship onward without a Virtue. The Gift allows you to take a single Supernatural ability, if desired (take Virtues to buy more than one such ability).

The character’s age sets a maximum for any Ability at character creation:

  • Under 30: 5
  • 30-35: 6
  • 36-40*: 7
  • 41-45*: 8
  • 46+*: 9

* Characters must make aging rolls after age 35.

Most Abilities cost new level x 5 XP to raise (e.g., 15 XP to go from 2 to 3, or 30 total XP to go from 0 to 3). Magical Art Abilities cost new level x 1 XP (e.g., 3 XP to go from 2 to 3, or 6 total XP to go from 0 to 3). See the Advancement Table on page 31.

See the chapter starting on page 62 for lists of Abilities.

Each character takes multiple age-based phases to generate XP that can be spent on Abilities:

Early Childhood (All)

Years 0-5 grant the character [Native Language] 5 and 45 XP. This XP must be spent on (Area) Lore (for birth area), Athletics, Awareness, Brawl, Charm, Folk Ken, Guile, [Other Living Language], Stealth, Survival, or Swim. Sample childhood packages are on page 31.

Later Life (All)

During each post-early childhood, pre-apprenticeship year, the character earns 15 (20 if Wealthy, 10 if Poor) XP. These years can be grouped together up to age 35 and spent as a lump sum, but should be spent year-by-year after 35 due to having to make aging checks. Characters can potentially die in character creation due to aging check results (at which point, they are recommended to ignore the last year of changes and stop character creation at the last living year).

Apprenticeship (Mage only)

Magi spend 15 years on apprenticeship (generally finishing just before starting play, unless the GM allows more experienced mages; they must have appropriate Virtues to take non-General skills in pre-Apprenticeship phases). This grants 240 XP (and 120 levels of spells, see below).

The mage must have Parma Magica 1, Magic Theory 1, and Latin 1 (15 XP for the set) after apprenticeship, and is recommended to have at least Artes Liberales 1, Latin 4, Magic Theory 3, and Parma Magica 1 (90 XP for the set). The mage cannot have Parma Magica greater than 1 without taking the after apprenticeship phase (as swearing the Hermetic Oath and learning Parma Magica is the final step before the end of apprenticeship).

Aging can still be an issue for magi that start this phase at 21 or older.

After Apprenticeship (Mage with GM approval only)

If the GM allows mages to start play more than a year after finishing apprenticeship, years may be calculated differently depending on time spent on research. See page 32 for these rules.

Spells

Magi gain 120 levels of spells from apprenticeship (and may have more from after apprenticeship years). Each spell has a fixed level. For example, buying a level 15 spell uses 15 of the 120 points.

A mage can only learn spells with levels that don’t exceed the associated Technique and Form total (plus Int + Magic Theory + 3). For example, a mage with Int +3, Magic Theory 4, Creo 5, Ignem 6 can learn Creo Ignem spells with a level of 21 or less.

Personality

Each character should have three personality adjectives, and they can be rated -3 to +3. There is no cost to having positive scores or reward for negative scores. For mages and companions, they are generally an arbitrary description of how you intend to play the character (though some Virtues and Flaws, like Berserk, may have systems that make you roll your personality traits).

Grogs should all have Loyalty as one of their traits, and any Grogs that might be in a fight should have Bravery. The GM may require you to roll a Grog’s Loyalty or Bravery to determine behavior in a risky situation.

Reputation

Character with certain Virtues and Flaws may gain a Reputation score, which is rolled to see if strangers have heard of you. See page 19 for rules.

Confidence

Non-Grogs have Confidence score 1 and three Confidence Points, unless modified by Virtues or Flaws. Spend Confidence Points for +3 to a roll after rolling (cannot spend more points per roll than Confidence score). See page 19-20 for more information. Grogs generally do not have Confidence.

Equipment

Characters have appropriate mundane equipment based on station and career. Magi that take an After Apprenticeship phase may have acquired/created magical equipment based on the rules for that phase.

Hermetic Notes

Houses

  • Bjornaer (Mystery Cult): Animagi that gain Heartbeast Virtue and Heartbeast 1 Ability
  • Bonisagus (True Lineage): Researchers that gain Puissant Magical Theory Virtue (researchers) OR Puissant Intrigue Virtue (politicians)
  • Criamon (Mystery Cult): Riddlers that gain The Enigma Virtue and Enigmatic Wisdom 1 Ability
  • Ex Miscellanea (Societas): Members of smaller traditions that gain a Minor Hermetic Virtue, a Major non-Hermetic Virtue, and a Major Hermetic Flaw to represent the proclivities of their sub-tradition
  • Flambeau (Societas): Destroyers that gain Puissant (Perdo or Ignem) Virtue
  • Guernicas (True Lineage): Justiciars that gain Hermetic Prestige Virtue (most likely group to become Quaesitors)
  • Jerbiton (Societas): Artist/scholars that gain a Minor Virtue related to scholarship, arts, or mundane interaction
  • Mercere (True Lineage): Messengers who gain Puissant (Creo or Muto) Virtue; their non-mages often take the Major Status (Redcap) Virtue
  • Merinita (Mystery Cult): Faerie mages that gain the Faerie Magic Virtue (if you do not have another faerie-related Virtue or Flaw, you must take a Warping Point to be initiated)
  • Tremere (True Lineage): Battle legates who gain the Minor Magical Focus (Certamen) Virtue
  • Tytalus (Societas): Conflict-focused magi who gain the Self Confident Virtue (most of their number were wiped out years ago when the house became demon-corrupted)
  • Verditius (Mystery Cult): Magic crafters that gain the Verditius Magic Virtue.

You have to start your apprenticeship in a True Lineage to be a member of that house. The other houses can be joined later.

Weregild

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Turn your LARP into a simmering PVP deathmatch

Back in my days of running WoD LARPs, we felt pretty strongly about casting player characters at a variety of power levels. The elders on screen would actually have a reasonable amount of extra XP to back up their in-story role. I still feel like this is superior to the modern way of representing age (which is that it increases your potential might, but in the short term actually starts you out at least missing the points you spent on the age-related background and the younger PCs didn’t).

The trick is, you don’t want this to be a pure benefit, as the players that didn’t get the bonus XP feel rightly cheated. So our technique was to start the more powerful characters with other characters that would start play hating their guts. Every elder stepped on some people to get where they are. Ultimately, the younger PCs didn’t enter play with targets on their backs.

But we never mechanically formalized it. This system popped into my head as a way to do so. It should result in hilarious murder hijinx.

Step 1: Unfair Bonus XP

PCs (chosen arbitrarily by the staff or awarded randomly) get a certain number of ranks that translate into bonus XP. For example, in modern MET, at chargen you might get 50 XP per rank of age. You may give guidelines that each rank of age should equal a certain number of years active, for verisimilitude.

Step 2: Hatred

For each rank of age, generate instances of Hatred: [That Character]. This is a formal merit that goes on the character sheets of other PCs. Work with those PCs to decide what the elder did to them that caused the hate. These might be PCs in rival groups, and might even be presumed allies that the elder wronged inadvertently (or by being a domineering jerk that is mean to underlings). You might give the elder a vague idea of who hates her, but she probably shouldn’t have a definite list. You should basically work out with her the kinds of awful things she’s done to get where she is, so she’s not completely blindsided by thinking she could never have done the horrible thing someone accuses her of.

Hatreds should mostly go to younger PCs, but a few can go to other PCs with age just to keep the more powerful characters at each others’ throats.

A good number of Hatreds per rank of age is three. For example, a character with three ranks of age has nine people with Hatred for her.

Step 3: Consummation

If you have Hatred for a character and are in the room when she dies, you get a big chunk of bonus XP.

This amount should be a little more than evenly dividing the bonus XP from age (to account for some characters with Hatred missing out). For example, if you’re giving out 50 XP per rank of age and three Hatreds per rank of age, everyone with Hatred gets 20 XP for being in the room when the character dies.

(Notably, there’s no special bump for dealing the killing blow, to keep your conspiracy from falling into chaos early because they’re bickering over who gets to hold the knife. They’ll often need to work together pretty well to bring down the more powerful character.)

Step 4: Weregild

Every character that got Hatred XP from another character’s death themselves generates a Hatred that is awarded to an ally of the deceased. Now the allies get bonus XP for killing the guys that killed their friend.

This Hatred doesn’t show up until the next session, because you don’t want the conspiracy to just turn into an abattoir all at one go. You want one big murder scene at a time. Allies have to go and seethe about their friend’s killers for a while before getting bonus XP for payback.

You can award the Hatreds to the people that make the best case that they miss their friend. You might even give out several matching Ally merits to people for each rank of age, so you know in advance who’s going to get the weregild right. Importantly, being someone’s ally doesn’t have a direct mechanical incentive while they’re alive. You’re not losing anything if they die. You actually profit almost as much as the killers for their death, because now you have someone you can kill for bonus XP.

Do try to award the ally status to less powerful PCs whenever arguable, just to keep a canny elder from getting unstoppably powerful because all her friends are dead.

Step 5: Enjoy the Perpetual Murder Machine You’ve Created

The amount of time this takes to slaughter your entire cast is directly related to how strong your in-story “No Killing!” rules seem, and how much additional plot you have that grudgingly makes people leave their enemies alive until a bigger threat is dealt with. But it should certainly give you some extra free time as a staff, since now players can entertain each other with their murder conspiracies for hours and hours of game time.