A dirty trick

Hi all, I would like to counter a bad behavior of my players during PG creation because in these circumstances they always pick up a Personal Vis Source in a Technique (never in a Form) knowing that they will gain a double amount of vis during the usual exchange in play. In my opinion this a dirty trick and has nothing to do with real RPG... Any idea about?

You should meke this presonal fount don`t easy to exchange.
Examples could be Creo in the way for a body excrement, Rego like the tax of a Noble or a Bishop, Intellego like a innusual aura or something like that, Muto like the reflect of a face of a Gorgone and finally Perdo, the rust of a kinve for sacrifizes.
I thinkk that that make difficult work with that Vis.

First, a question. Why is this a bad thing? What do you wish they would do instead?

This virtue can be for flavor, but it's usually a way of saying "I want to do cool things with vis." And that's not bad! Players use V&Fs to communicate what they want the game to be about. If they want vis to do something specific, then why shouldn’t they take the option that adds the most to their fun? Making choices that let your character do whatever cool thing they want to do has nothing to do with "dirty tricks" and everything to do with the "real RPG."

My suggestion: try making vis more common in your saga. If your players often pick this virtue and always pick a Technique, maybe you’re over-valuing vis and under-valuing whatever it is they really want. A vis hunt occasionally is fine, but letting them have their cool magic item and making a story about that instead is better.

  1. make the is had to trade (because it spoils or weighs too much)
  2. change the exchange rate (new vis sources discovered, because you say it)

In fourth edition I made certain types of personal vis sources require more points to purchase. If 5th ed. I simply banned it because of the trouble it caused.

You could make personal vis a long lasting arcane connection to the wizard. That could be fun and discourage trading.

Hmmm - I rarely see characters with it in my gaming circles, perhaps because the players have more faith that they won't suffer from a shortage. (Maybe that's something that your group, as StoryGuides, need to address?) And, as mentioned above, it's not "a bad thing" necessarily, just one avenue to "magic". But, to answer the question rather than question it, there are several approaches.

The Virtue is not defined as to quantity, so you could simply rule that a mage gets less than has been offered in the past, and about half as much Tech vis vs. Form vis - there's balance for ya.

Also, make it clear that a character should have some "connection" with the Technique if they're going that way - simply adding it to the shopping list ("Don't forget to pick up a Personal Vis Source!") is not acceptable, unless that mage has other Hermetic Virtues that tie them strongly to that Art. (Or, reward such more than an inexplicable vis source.) An elemental mage should produce Aquam, Aurum, Ignem and Terram - not Rego or Intellego, imo.

The last solution is as mentioned above - assure players that the saga will give every mage ample opportunity for vis from the game/adventuring. When the one mage finds their Personal Source gives them no real advantage, they will be weaned off of it for the next time.

You can have stories dealing with arcane connections through the vis. You can have stories where the vis source is threatened, whether or not it is an unregistered source...

(Image of a Tytalus trying to register a vis source excreted from another mage...)

Your parens could have registered it while you were an apprentice...

Interesting ideas, but my players usually choose their specific vis source and they never want a secret place (difficult to protect) but only simple item hidden inside their sancta, like a Mandragora (herbam), or a strange rock that growth over time (creo) or anithing else.

It is very difficult to do not allow vis exchange with these harmless items and it is very difficult again to steal it from their Sancta. My only solution is to increase the amount of vis gathered during adventures...

I would like to know why (a lot of) italian players often use these dirty tricks in all games they play... We lack fairplay :frowning:

You could simply not allow it. solves the problem from the beginning.

I don't see it as a major problem.

Personal Vis Source gives you only about 1/10 of what the covenant as a whole would be getting. Checking the Covenants chapter, a medium covenant would be getting only 20 pawns per year... which means a personal supply of only 2 pawns per year.

Anything more than that, I have them take it as a major virtue instead of a minor.

If they want a more powerful covenant, that would be 50 pawns per year for the covenant and personal at 5 pawns. Of course that sort of covenant would include more prestigious magi who might have other means of depriving the PCs of their 'rightful' property... for the 'good of the covenant' of course!

Then again, as storyguide you could take an opposite tack. All these 'personal' sources deprive the covenant as a whole of its regular supplies... causing them to be a poor covenant. A weak covenant only gets 4 pawns per year and 1/10 of 4 is... .4 little under half a pawn? Do your PCs wanna wait 2+ years for a pawn of vis?

If the players push too hard, remind them that the storyguide can push back!

Another thought.... If this covenant is swimming in all this personal vis, that would definitely make them a target.

A rival covenant is extremely envious.

  • The rival's Bonisagus could keep stealing apprentices.
  • The Merinita could incite unwelcome attention from nearby fae.. ("Psst! Mr. Fawn, that wizard has pretty sparklies that you want very much!")

Nearby Fae may take an interest on their own... it is OBVIOUSLY very magical, therefore is MUST belong to them....

Demons stealing personal vis, just to cause hate and discontent...

The local dragon decided on a location for its new nest.... your covenant!

Its only a dirty trick if the Storyguide is trying to make vis relatively scarce. Otherwise, I don't see the problem. Personal vis source isn't a big deal; there are certainly far more powerful virtues out there in a moderate vis supply campaign.

The vis source is roughly 10% of what you expect to be the norm for the campaign, according to the rules. The example of a moderate covenant in the core rules is about 20p per year amongst 5 magi (not counting vis extraction and adventure related vis). So personal vis source is probably only 1-2 pawns a year. Even if you go with the older edition's value of 4p per year, I don't really see it as being incredibly problematic.

If you think the 2 form for 1 technique exchange rate is causing problems, then just change it. If you just don't like the fact that they are trading vis all the time regardless, then make it more difficult. Play up the fact that someone has to carry your vis to whomever you are trading it with and return with the new vis. Lots of story ideas in that.

If this happens with every saga and it really bugs you, just count on that vis as part of the allotment you expect the PCs to have (ie reduce the amount of vis the covenant has out of its design points... the PCs will be compensated by the additional resources somewhere else, presumably).

However.... while you seem to think its a 'bad players abusing the system" problem, to me it sounds more like a case of players signalling they feel starved of vis during the game.

What? I don't seem to understand what you are referring to. Vis exchange?

The discussion of House Mercere in True Lineages assumes that there is a pretty active market for vis that the Redcaps are major players in. One of the core concepts of that structure is that technique vis is roughly twice as valuable as Form vis.

House Mercere offers a service to trade Vis (see Houses of Hermes: True Lineages). Basically, a pawn of Technique vis is valued as two pawns of Form vis. On top of that House Mercere charges an extra 100% to perform the exchange.

However, Tribunals do not recognize that difference in value (e.g. when paying fines): a pawn is a pawn.

It has been argued that different Arts of vis are worth more or less. That is, a pawn of Aquam is generically worth less than a pawn of Corpus, and Corpus is worth something less than a pawn of Muto, which is generally less than a pawn of Rego.

This is based on some sense of a "pan-Order" demand, what is generally used vs not used as commonly, altho' individuals might pay more or less. Someone, some group, suggested a table showing their idea of an standard exchange rate - (anyone have a link to/copy of that?)

One houserule I've used (not always, but often) to good effect is to rule that magic enchantments require vis of both Technique and Form. Just as spells require a Te/Fo casting total, almost anything created, from Talismans to Longevity Potions, could require an appropriate mix of vis. This makes Form vis slightly more in demand, as you can no longer Conjure the Mystic Tower with only Creo, or create a Skin of Shapeshifting with just a few Muto vis. Just another option.

I shared an exchange rate a long time ago... it was based off of long negotiation with my players and a pretty nifty spreadsheet, if I may say so myself. (It included variations for cross-tribunal variations and its heights.)

The current ratings for my on-line game can be found here, editthis.info/thesaurus_terrae/Vim_Standard

It's a simplification of those other tables.

I thought this virtues said to the gm: Hey, I have a vis source, make up something!

Thus, this will give you the form and taste of Vis.