A less powerful order of hermes, a more S&M magic system


I would suggest that an alternative to Arts as Abilities is to increase the required spell levels. Doubling the spell levels should do, I think. Then you have elder magi that are far more powerful than starting ones, but it's still extremely difficult to cast the most powerful spells. You better think carefully about other ramifications, however - Penetration, what spell-level to count as a Ritual, and so on.

With Arts as Abilities, the slow progression does mean things are more tame, but that I think it is reasonable given a change in mindset. With AaA, the high-level spells are high-level spells, achieved by the elder specialists. More modest character advancement results in advances in spell casting, but not to such high degrees. A magus that raises two Arts from 2 to 8, for example, might have moved from CrIg 10 (Lamp Without Flame) to almost CrIg 25 (Arc of Fiery Ribbons); from basic-functionality to impressive combat magic. Granted, bonuses from S&M that can be easily piled on to the totals do lower the significance of increasing the Arts.

I like the idea of using Magic Lore instead of Magic Theory, although it does indeed leads to a more "hedgie" game.

And the idea of having Ars Magica as the Inner Mystery of the Order, rather than the Outer Mystery, is... different. I'll have to think about it - but it appears too limiting to me. I would prefer everyone to use the Ars Magica system, it's just easier in-game than having a host of hedge-magic systems, and this rule goes against that.

Well, since I also prefer to use the Ars Magica system instead of a host of hedge magic systems and it's my rule, I have to disagree. :slight_smile:

Ars Magica (that is, the ability to use the Arts) in an Inner Mystery of all the magical traditions. They may call it something different, but it's functionally the same thing. In contrast, the most basic ability to use magic is a minor supernatural virtue I'm calling Folk Magic which grants the ability to use Ceremonial Magic based on your Magic Lore ([Comm + Magic Lore + modifiers includes one S&M bonus]/2, 15 mins casting time per magnitude). The various traditions have their own Outer Mystery... for Cunning Folk it's Faerie Magic, for Learned Magicians it's Astrological Magic, etc. (Well, I've only worked out those two traditions for my saga but theoretically, "etc.")

That's the theory anyway. Still playtesting the "Folk Magic" stage. Will report back...

Relative progression is 9 to 4, so Abilities grow about half as fast as Arts. Adding an extra magnitude to your casting total would take as long as 2 magnitude in RAW. It would make Formulaic and Mastery more important, I think.

Wouldn´t dream of doing that. Fatigueless sponts becomes useless. Sponts overall becomes problematic.

I much prefer doing what i did, stretch out the base guidelines so that tiny effects are still easy, but powerful/high impact ones are a good bit higher. For comparison, my base guideline for PeCo Kill a person is Base 50 instead of the RAW 30.

Two Arts at 2 by RAW means you can reliably cast lvl 15 spells. This is why i like changing the "free 10" to at minimum cause more fatigue. Or like Xavi did in the OP, completely remove it.

I'm pondering the idea of doing away with the "free 10" in exchange for every magus has something akin to Life Boost... +5 to formulaic casting total per Short Term Fatigue level spent. Yes, you could achieve some pretty impressive casting totals/penetration if you pushed yourself, but at the cost of exhausting yourself. I haven't tested the idea. Thoughts?

How many instances are we dealing with magi knowing spells that they can barely cast and also relying on this spells for a regular basis? Keep in mind -10 is not free. It does burn fatigue. If it's a bread and butter spell, they'll take themselves out of serious play rather quickly. If it isn't, how much does this really happen?

And yes, I have characters who have a CS less than the level of their spell, but rarely has it been more than 5 less than the level of the spell, and in that case he was a Bonisagus with a monstrous effective 10 MT... Of course he knows spells he can't cast reliably unless he takes 2.5 hours to ceremonially cast it...

Yes it IS a "free" 10. If you cast a spontaneous, you always use Fatigue. With formulaic, you get twice the casting total but only spend fatigue if you´re below the spell level, and you can cast at up to 10 below, and a raise of 10 means going from minor and midrange power spells to powerful ones.

The way i prefer it is to make it normal to spend fatigue for formulaic just as with spontaneous. But if you get more than 10 above spell level with casting total, THEN you dont spend fatigue. And if you get too low, you spend 2 fatigue levels but spell is still cast, and worst case, you spend 3 fatigue levels and fail casting.
A variation on this is that you can reduce casting total by 10 spend one less level of fatigue(spell cast if casting total is higher than spell level).

I think it should work pretty well.

What? You don't always use fatigue for spontaneous spells by RAW. If one doesn't expend fatigue on a spontaneous spell one must divide by 5. Yes, under your system dividing by 5 is going to be even worse and you effectively force magi to use fatigue, or ceremonial casting and spend a lot of experience points in philosophae and artes liberales for those bonuses. And to be clear, you didn't really answer my question. You debated my fact that the CT-10 is not free, that it costs fatigue, by saying how your system is different. Fine, I'd like to know just how many instances are we dealing with magi knowing spells that they can barely cast and also relying on these spells on a regular basis? I don't think it happens. They certainly aren't offensive spells or spells that can affect beings with might. And while they can use them against mundanes...umm, so?

I can see that can enforce specialization, which I tend to like, but I would make the change of forcing fatigue if the following condition is met: Spell Level +10 <=CT. I wouldn't also hang on the changing Arts to use the Ability experience point table. I'd like to see a freshly gauntleted magus under this system and his spell selection.

I think it depends entirely on saga style... If your saga involves magi scheming at the court of the Winter Queen, casting their spells against sidhe courtiers in a Faerie Aura 8 that's one thing. If your saga involved magi scheming at the University of Paris, casting spells against mundane scholars in a Divine Aura 4, that's something else entirely.

I don't see it. Honestly in both those cases spells are likely to be ineffective, especially when you've already Nerfed Arts to be treated as abilities, or am I conflating systems here, I might be.

Hey, let's just do a system where:
Integrates my proposed aura modification rules
Treats Arts as Abilities
Make the CT=spell level to cast successfully, and make Spell level+10<=CT as the threshold for not losing fatigue.

Oh, sorry, you're in a city with a Divine Aura of 3. You can't use any magic, since your effective casting score is 5 Te + Fo 4 +Sta 3 -6 (Aura) for a total of 6 to the die roll. And you have 5 botch dice! Well, you can cast that 5th level spell, but you're going to be fatigued after doing so.

My point is, well, I don't have a point. Everyone can tinker in their own way. In my experience, I don't have a lot of problems with magi being to cast a lot of spells where their CT is less than their CS. It's hard to learn those spells for one thing, and for another, magi don't rely on those spells, except for defensive or utility purposes. The idea of nerfing magi just seems counter to what Ars is.

Eh, say what? I made no changes at all to spontaneous casting in what you replied to. What i did was changing formulaic so that it works more similar to spontaneous.

All the time. Unless you have clearly less Int than Sta, craptacular MT and a lab that is the absolute minimum possible and never access to anyone to work as assistant in the lab, you will be able learn spells "on the edge" without all that much effort.
Casting total 10, want to learn a level 20 spell, Sta==Int for easy compare, +5 from MT, +5 from assistant, +5 from familiar, +5 from lab and you learn it in two seasons. That´s with a low count. MT+6, +7 Asst, +7 familiar, +8 lab bonus and +2 from similar spell bonus and you learn it in a single season.

You realise that is equal to what i said? With the potential of still allowing successful casting down to SL-10 but loosing 2 fatigue for it rather than 1. Fail by more and the spell fails and you loose 3 Fatigue...

I did say I might be conflating systems of Arts as Abilities and the -10 freebie. If that's the case, and you don't do Arts as Abilities, then never mind. :smiley:

Again, how often are these spells used? Yes, I know how it becomes possible to invent spells that are difficult to cast. I want to know their use cases. Again, this is your system, I'd like to see an example, fully formed, in play example of a magus who has been repeatedly casting the spell and the casting total is repeatedly and often within 10 points of the spell level and how it affects play. I think this is a solution in search of a problem. I don't think it exists. I do have characters that know a spell here or there like that, but usually they are so close that a die roll is almost always going to push the CT over the spell level. So, having a CS under the spell level just doesn't happen that often, and it almost certainly never happens for bread and butter daily use spells. It happens for the utility spells, which penalizes magi for branching out a bit.

Well, I was suggesting a system that combined all of these things that tamp down on power, and then followed it up with:

I have a tendency to dislike fatiguing magi, because it gets too much into their ability to hang in a fight, if it comes down to it. It makes grogs even more necessary, not that it's a bad thing. But with grogs becoming even more vital, you're also going to burn through them a lot more frequently.

Then perhaps use the addition someone suggested to me, a "Casting Endurance" Ability, the score of which is the number of fatigue losses per day from spellcasting that you can ignore. Combined with an on average higher degree of fatigue caused by casting, well the idea looks fairly good. Of course, for someone with LLSM a high score in this could mean freely boosting your casting once or twice per day by around 25 or so. Which might be an interesting option.

Often enough.

I like my Arts as Arts. Removing/fatigueing the freebie makes a big difference.

Arts as abilities are fine, the +10 "freebie" which is not a freebie (you pay fatigue), makes it possible to cast something if things aren't going your way entirely.

For an example of a spell on the edge of CT well within LT, I invented a InVi40 spell to see the Gift with a Sodale, he invented the spell, I helped (MT5+Puissant+Vim spec=8+4Int) in my Vim spell specialized lab (+8Vi, +3 Spells). This makes for a +23 to the LT, +6 aura makes +29, needing only a base 31 to invent it in two seasons. Without experimentation. When it was done, it was written and filed in our library, I easily have the 40 (29 needing only a paltry 11 InVi).

If I have the +11 InVi, and a Sta of +1, I need a roll of 1+9 for an 18 to cast it. I am not that pathetic, but I only have a Vim of 13, and an In of 7, Sta +1, I need, with exaggerated moves and loud voice, a 7 to cast it at all.

When you cast a Spont at /2 casting total, fatigue is automatic. For formulaic fatigue is automatic only once you go beyond normal casting total, so yes the +10 IS a freebie.
If you could cast at up to CT+10 without fatigue, it would be a double freebie.

Ie., the basic assumption is that unless there are special circumstances(like casting a fatigueless spontaneous spell that instead get a severely lowered CT in return) you loose fatigue when casting.

Equating spontaneous spells with formulaic spells is...wrong.
The entire point behind learning/inventing a spell is that you can avoid the fatigue and make it easier to cast. Changing the requirements for avoiding fatigue gains what exactly? You say that it happens often enough, but when I press you for specifics I don't get any. Again, the spells that are often short of the CT necessary are, in my experience, almost always utility spells. Or they are in an extremely unfriendly environment, which has other penalties.

I will say, in this saga, I'd be investing a lot in stalwart casting.

And with formulaic you get the full Casting total without any dividing. You demand a free lunch on top of that?

Eh... :unamused:

Casting has more similar conditions and makes it harder to cast superpowered spells right out of apprenticeship?

Maybe because I haven´t actually played for real for a couple of years by now? It´s easy to sit and whine about getting examples when you´re just asking for them.

Or powerful spells used against the environment or against mundanes. The classic in this case is when a maga in our first big story "picked up" the lake on one side of the mountain she was sitting on and then placed it down the hill on the other side, drowning thousands of Mongol soldiers and their shamans with the massive landslide and huge amount of water flooding the valley they were setting up overnight camp in.
That was a zero penetration spell at the edge of what the PC could do. And she did with just minimal fatigue.

That was one BIG reason to start thinking about a suitable HR.

Ok. I want to see that spell design. We're starting at Base 20 (move water in a violent and very unnatural way) and we haven't even covered size modifications. That's like so Base 20, R:Touch D:Momentary, T:Ind is 25. The base size for aquam is a small pond, which is probably 2 paces, cubed, or 8 cubic paces. What kind of size modifications were there?