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In Ars Magica 5th, the Character Sheet has a space for a Description with each of the Characteristics. But I can't find in the book what is it for.

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These are for specialities.

From Ars, 4th Edition:

A speciality is simply a word that describes each non-zero Characteristic your character has, giving more definition than a statistic like "+2" or "-1" can. For example, if you have a +1 Strength, is your character "thick," "bulky," or "forceful"? Does your -3 Dexterity indicate that he is "bumbling" or simply "clumsy". Characteristic specialities help you visualize your character, and other than that, have no mechanical function in the game.

However. Examining the 5th edition book in detail I can't find any reference to "Description" at all (Checked all index'd references and other places I can think of, not read the whole thing again mind you!) so it looks like this item from 4th edition was lost in the editing from 4th -> 5th as far as I can tell. So, if this is the same as 4th it's purely for flavour and I can't find anything to contradict this (as I can't find anything that actually describes it) so it looks like the 5th has missed this, indeed in the character conversion section (p.224 ars 5th) it says

Characteristics: Characteristics are unchanged between Fourth and Fifth Editions

So I'm pretty confident that it's remained the same.

5th edition character sheet

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Which page is that on? I'm seeking for that paragraph in my spanish translation, and maybe they missed it! \$\endgroup\$ – Envite Aug 4 '17 at 11:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'll dig it up when I'm home. \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Aug 4 '17 at 12:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ Looks like they were lost in the edit between 4th and 5th; see my updated answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Aug 4 '17 at 19:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm pretty sure that in 3rd edition they had some mechanical effect as well - they were called "specialities" and you had +1 to that focus, didn't you? Or was that only in skills, and we somehow house-ruled that into characteristics as well? \$\endgroup\$ – lisardggY Aug 7 '17 at 6:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Third Edition did have mechanical bonuses for the specialities, like skills if you had a applicable word descriptor; like "strong" and throwing a rock, then a +1 bonus applied. This didn't carry over for characteristics to 4th Edition, no, not answering any others - ask another question if you want the other editions! ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Rob Aug 8 '17 at 14:44
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My guess for this appearing in the corebook is that they anticipated reintroducing them in some form so left that spot available.

What isn't a guess is that they do have a function in the expanded rules...for characters that choose to make use of them.

There are virtues and flaws in some of the expansion books that grant a keyword with a mechanical change to a Characteristic. Specifically they appear in Realms of Power: Magic...but I'm sure I've seen them elsewhere.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Please take the tour when you get the chance. It's important to note that this is not a forum; responses should directly answer the question that was asked, rather than attempting to respond to other answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage May 29 at 23:52

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