Players take on the role of magi — members of one of the Houses of Hermes — and their Custos, travelling throughout Mythic Europe in 1197 (in the first two editions of the game) or 1220 (beginning with the third edition of the game).
The game introduced a revolutionary magic system. Unlike previous systems, magic was not simply a list of spells. It was a fluid, dynamic system that allowed players to come up with their own effects and implement them.
Much of the World of Darkness owes its existence to Ars Magica. House Tremere was the first to appear as the vampiric Tremere clan in Vampire: The Masquerade. The Order of Hermes itself was an integral part of Mage: The Ascension, and Mage's flexible magic system owed much to ArM.
After White Wolf Edit
Shortly after the World of Darkness was released, White Wolf stopped producing Ars Magica, transferring its license to Wizards of the Coast, who subsequently transferred it to Atlas Games. The development of the game line has since departed from established World of Darkness history.
- The WWWiki only covers ArM up until the final product published by White Wolf, and thus assumes that Ars Magica events occur in the history of the World of Darkness, rather than in a seperate timeline; the 4th and 5th editions of the game have distanced themselves from the World of Darkness.