Welcome to Ars Magica, and to the world of Mythic Europe. It is a place where the glories of the Classical world are dust and the promise of the Renaissance is yet to come. The time is the 13th century--1220 to be exact. Life is a struggle: wars and plagues stalk the land, the Church and kings rule with an iron fist. Yet Mythic Europe is also a place of magical wonder, inhabited by all the creatures of folktale and myth. What the folk of the land believe holds true: faeries and rural spirits must be placated; demons corrupt everything they touch; divine power is accessible through prayer; and magic is everywhere.
Against this background, you will play a magus, a member of the mythical Order of Hermes. You and your fellow players will also portray the loyal companions and grogs that stand with the magi in their covenants. These stalwart protectors provide a buffer between the magi and the mundane world that often misunderstands their power and motives. This is the setting for Ars Magica.
The White Wolf version of the earlier Lion Rampant roleplaying game which expanded the setting whilst leaving the original rules intact. Ars Magica uses a medieval fantasy setting.
Players use a portfolio of characters, which include wizards called Magi, companions (highly skilled characters) and grogs (the rude mechanicals of the game). This allows a range of very different adventures, at different power levels. This is described as Troupe play.
The characters Covenant is the central location around which the adventures are set. It is a combination home, fort and research laboratory and is often as highly detailed as a character is.
Unsurprisingly Magic in the system is very important and extremely powerful. Magi characters are the equals of Merlin in raw power and there are very few limits on what they can achieve given enough time.