4 newbie questions

Hello, I have four questions about spellcasting.

Just to clarify about Muto Vim. In the troupe we have already agreed that the Muto Vim spell is casted in the same round as the spell it will effect. Two extra die rolls where you have a chance to fail/botch is enough penalty. Double the casting time would nerf it too much.

My first question is on how you figure out the penetration on the other spell when Muto Vim is involved. Is the spell casting roll compared to the spells original level or the level the boosted spell would have had? Personally, I think it should be compared to the original level.

The second question is similar. But instead of Muto Vim it is about the virtue Flexible Formulaic Magic which I'm uncertain I understand. But I think you compare you're casting total against the "new" level. Is this correct? For example, if you roll 32 on casting total for a PoF with R: Sight, you would get a penetration of 7+penetration skill, right?

My third question is about Wizard's communion. Shouldn't duration be Sun if you want to cast it on Rituals?

The fourth question is about ritual Magic. It seems like an awful large risk of botching high level rituals since you always use a stress die. If four Magi casts a level 60 Aegis through Wizard's Communion you have 16 Botch dices before modification. Doesn't this means that covenants with high level Aegis (like Durenmar) have serious botches every 10 year or so?

Thankfull for any help!


There ordinarily isn't any penetration on a spell being cast, but MuVi does some weird stuff. If the Muto Vim caster is not the same person as the caster of the spell being affected, penetration can apply, if they aren't cooperating. If they aren't cooperating the MuVi spell must be fast cast, the other spell must be a formulaic spell, and the guidelines says, your penetration total for the MuVi spell must beat the other spell's penetration total. I'll take it on it's face and subtract the level from both totals and compare whether the MuVi remainder is larger than the other magus's remainder. Keep in mind fast casting the MuVi spell means that the spell must be mastered for fast casting if it is a formulaic spell and still gets the -10 to the CS, or it's a spontaneous spell unlikely to penetrate.

Yes, exactly.

That's been my impression. Further, you subtract 10 levels of power from the spell to determine the power it adds to the ritual, to account for the increased duration, that's how I've been playing it. Might want to rename it Ritual Communion for clarity.

Yes, but there are numerous ways to reduce the chance of botching. Cautious Sorcerer, Golden Cord, and Spell Mastery. If everyone is Mercurian, the amount of vis is cut in half. Some troupes treat a Mastery score of 1 as being sufficient to negate all botch dice for the spell, I don't particularly agree with that interpretation.
There's some gap in the spell mastery abilities, I think there could be a ritual mastery ability, which could be taken multiple times (like precise and quick casting) and it reduces the number of pawns of vis that count against a botch. This basically takes the risk of botch down 2 dice for every time it is taken, 1 for the mastery ability, and 1 for an increase in the score.

The magi of Durenmar are pretty old, and very powerful, so I can see the caster of the ritual having a bound familiar with a powerful Golden Cord of 4, or even more, has Cautious Sorcerer, either through some mystery or naturally, and finally a mastery score of 6 (because there should be books on it that can get you to this level), maybe higher if he has Flawless Magic, but all that together takes 12-13 botch dice away.

I'm not sure that you're answering the question that Krixx meant to ask.

The penetration is still calculated from the level of the spell that was cast. There is nothing that implies anything different. Ergo because the spell casting roll isn't changed the penetration is that of the original spell.

Here is a relevant quote from the Errata

A point that I think helps make things clearer is that by the time the targeted spell takes effect, the muto vim spell that targeted it is already done (or at least no longer acting on it in the case of long duration Muto vim.

I'm good at that. :smiley:

I'm sorry if I was unclear about question one. I'll take an example. If a magus uses Wizard's boost on PoF. He succeeds with the concentration roll and the Wizard's boost. He then gets à casting total on 32 for his PoF. In my book that means he will have à penetration of 12+penetration skill, right?

ErIk had your answer.

In other words yes,
(in your example 12 + penetration score)

Check the errata section on Atlas Games' site, and that is what it says. Momentary Duration is enough for formulaic spells, for ritual spells Sun is always enough (you might get away with Concentration if you are really confident in your luck, as you'll need to make several rolls to concentrate while casting the ritual).

The last sentence on Spell Mastery (AM5 p.86) says that when you cast a Mastered spell in a non-stressful situation there are no botch dice. The one word that is missing is 'formulaic', so by RAW it applies to ritual spells: you still use a stress die, but unless you are interrupted mid-casting or something similar there will be no botch dice. I can see why Jonathan.Link doesn't like this interpretation, since this language is repeated in the Formulaic Casting section but not in the Ritual Casting section, so the writer's intent is less than clear (and three straight hours of casting for a level 60 ritual might well count as stressful even without external circumstances !).

There are sufficient reasons to believe a maga is never relaxed when casting Ritual spells. You can also make a case for the opposite. RAW can be interpreted both ways.

Note that p81 and p86 both contain the same passage using "calm situation" or "maga is relaxed". The key problem is how you interpret Ritual's Magic passage: "The magnitude of Ritual spells, and the need to incorporate many elements, mean that they are always cast using a stress die."

I interpret "stress die" here is shorthand for "they are never cast relaxed and therefore always use a stress die", in opposition to Spell Mastery's 'stress die" which is actually an "exploding die". I believe making them equal would pervert their meaning. But as it stands you will have to house rule which interpretation you want.

The language is less than clear, but I think the intent is that rituals are always cast with a stress die. But with contradictory language it needs to be House Ruled, because different people see it differently. I think even just using vis to power one's spells should be an automatic stress die, with a botch chance of 1 + pawns of vis used, but that's not the case, either.

There was this extensive discussion here.

Again, multiple ways to reduce botch dice. Those ways suggest older magi, a lot of spell mastery, maybe a HR Ritual Mastery spell mastery ability, and you can knock down the botch dice pretty quickly, what one would expect from an old covenant like Durenmar.

Possibly. Remember that:

So it could be argued that when concentrating on a Wizard's Communion, casting the "Communed" spell does not count as a distraction for the Communion. In the absence of distractions, Concentration can be maintained for 15 minutes for each point of the caster's Concentration score. Since casting a Ritual takes 15 minutes per magnitude, a D:Conc Communion would allow the caster to manage Rituals of magnitude up to his Concentration score.

Finally, for what's worth, I'm in the camp "Rituals are always stressful", even in situations that would otherwise be calm, and thus always carry a substantial possibility of botching unless one has sufficient mastery, Virtues etc.

Thanks everyone, that's really helpful. I think the troupe will land in that Rituals are always stressful.