The second edition of Ars Magica is a 156-page role-playing core rules game book with four pages of character sheets in the back. This edition was published in 1989 and features a color illustration of a magi peering into a crystal ball.
In this game set in mythic medieval Europe, the three character types consist of magi, companions, or grogs. Magi or wizards are the most power and are essentially the focus of the book. The grog are essentially the common soldiers while companions consist of scholars, healers, thieves, and military leaders. Abilities fall into three categories: talents, skills, and knowledge. The game comes with weapon, armor, and ability charts.
The book focuses on magic. The magi can learn five techniques to combine with ten different forms. The techniques are create, perceive, transform, destroy, and control while the forms are animal, water, air, body, plant, fire, image, mind, earth, and power. The game uses medieval Latin for the magical terms. The player cross references a technique and form to find out with spells are available for each magical combination. The book also include a laboratory chapter of non-adventuring magi, a bestiary chapter for monster and animal statistics, and various other background material.